Canadian voice actor Bev Standing sues TikTok for alleged unlawful use of her voice

TORONTO – The popular TikTok social media platform illegally used and profited from the voice of a professional Canadian speaker-artist, it is claimed in the United States.

Beverly (Bev) Standing is seeking unspecified damages and permanent injunctions against the short video site in her Untested Statement of Claim for alleging unauthorized use of her voice and lack of compensation.

Standing from Welland, Ontario, claims she found out in November that TikTok was using her singing for his female computer-generated voice. Among other things, she says, some of the TikTok videos contained nasty and offensive language.

“I get paid to speak. I get paid to represent brands,” Standing said in an interview on Thursday. “Having my text-to-speech voice on TikTok – which I wasn’t hired to do – can be detrimental to my actual career.”

Standing, who said she had hundreds of commercial clients in radio, television, and the corporate world, said she wanted to be recognized for her work. But she said she had a bigger purpose with the suit too.

“It’s really important for language talents, clients and creatives to understand that you can’t … just use someone’s voice without permission,” she said. “You can’t do it in the music world, you can’t do it in the art world and you shouldn’t be able to do it in the language world.”

Delaware-based ByteDance, the company that controls TikTok and is named as a defendant, did not respond to a request for comment. A statement of defense has yet to be filed.

The lawsuit, filed this month in the U.S. District Court in the southern borough of New York, states that Standing’s voice and likeness are known in the U.S. and elsewhere. She claims to have suffered “significant injury and irreparable damage” from the alleged unauthorized use.

“The plaintiff has made significant efforts to maintain, protect and improve its reputation and has amassed significant goodwill,” the claim reads. “By misappropriating the plaintiff’s voice and likeness, the defendants have not only acted with the plaintiff’s deserved goodwill, but have also deprived the defendant of the ability to control their reputation.”

TikTok, it claims, created the “false and misleading representation” that it endorsed various products and services when in fact it did not.

“The defendants’ behavior described above was deliberate and willful and has led to confusion, error and deception,” she argues. “The defendants have committed such acts on purpose or with reckless disregard whether the public is confused and deceived.”

The lawsuit seeks a hearing by a jury, which, if approved, will decide on reasonable compensation.

Standing said she had strong support from the voice over community in acquiring TikTok.

“I haven’t done any work,” she said. It was absolutely overwhelming. “

This Canadian press report was first published on May 13, 2021.

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