Anil Kapoor, the renowned actor from India known for his roles in numerous Bollywood movies and the acclaimed film “Slumdog Millionaire,” recently secured a pivotal legal win in New Delhi against unauthorized AI usage of his personal attributes.
The New Delhi court granted an interim directive against a total of 16 parties, instructing them to desist from using Kapoor’s identity, voice, image, or any features associated with him for any form of commercial or non-commercial activities.
Speaking to Variety, Kapoor stated, ” I think [the decision] is very progressive and great not only for me but for other actors also … Because of the way AI technology is evolving every day.”
This legal decision emerges at a critical juncture amidst the ongoing tussle between the U.S. writers, actors’ unions, and studio representatives. Sag-Aftra’s main disagreement with the studios revolves around the perpetual unauthorized use of an actor’s image by AI without their consent or any financial residuals.
Sharing his support for the actors on strike in the U.S., Kapoor expressed his hope that they’d see his legal triumph as encouraging news. Kapoor remarked, ” I am always, completely with them in every which way, and I feel their rights should be protected, because everybody, big, small, popular, not popular – every actor has the right to protect themselves.”
Kapoor’s decision to approach India’s supreme court was prompted by a surge in manipulated media content featuring his likeness, including videos, gifs, and emojis. He was also perturbed by the unlicensed use of his popular catchphrase “jhakaas” (which translates to “awesome”), first coined in the 1985 movie “Yudh.” With this legal win, all these elements receive protective coverage.
“It’s not only for me,” said Kapoor. “Today I’m there to protect myself, but when I’m not there, the family should have the right to protect my [personality] and gain from it in future.”
On a related note, the ethical debate surrounding the digital revival of deceased actors gained momentum with the digital portrayal of the late Peter Cushing in 2017’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” It’s noteworthy that Cushing’s estate had greenlit his digital appearance in the film.