TikTok’s iconic text-to-speech voice is changed after actor behind it sued

Lily Puckett@lilypuckett
Monday 24 May 2021 22:14
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(CBC)

Tik Tok’s text-to-voice has officially been changed, after the actor behind the original sued the tech company for using her voice without permission.

Bev Standing found out TikTok had been using her some 10,000 sentences recorded for a previous job in the North American version of the app earlier this year, after friends sent her videos asking if it was her. A voiceover actor based in Canada, Standing was horrified to hear herself saying things she had never agreed to say at all.

“When I realised you could get me to say anything you want... that’s when I kind of got upset,” she told BBC earlier this month. She explained that her brand is “very clean,” and that she doesn’t swear in her work.

TikTok’s text-to-voice option, however, has been making Standing say anything anyone wants since the tool was introduced in the fall of 2020. Some popular videos include the actor reading out angry or sexual text messages with exes, or rude exchanges with friends.

Standing’s voice is also being used by major brands, including McDonalds, in direct advertisements. This sort of work is how Standing makes her living, and these videos felt like robbed opportunities.

“My voice is my product - it’s my business," she told BBC. "You can’t just use it and not reimburse me for what I do. If you want to use someone’s voice, pay for it."

(Tik Tok)

Standing filed a lawsuit against TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in the Southern District of New York in early May. The voice-to-text option changed today, several weeks later, TikTok confirmed to Insider.

Users on the app are so far perplexed by the new voice, which was rolled out without explanation on the app itself.

“Wtf is going on,” one user wrote in text read by the new voice, which is a bit more high-pitched.

It’s unclear who the new voice belongs to, or what the status of the filing against ByteDance is. But if TikTok users find out the backstory of their new voice, look out for the brand new voice explaining the legal saga to audiences for weeks to come.

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