Hebrew voice of Siri sues Apple, says it didn't obtain proper rights

Posted:
in iPhone
An Israeli radio personality and voice actor is suing Apple, claiming the company is using her voice for the Hebrew version of Siri without permission -- in some cases leading to her being made to say undesirable things.

Siri waveform


Galit Gura-Eini is asking for about $66,000 in damages according to Calcalist, saying she was surprised to learn she'd become Siri when the Hebrew version of the AI assistant debuted in 2016. Earlier in 2018, she reportedly asked Apple to remove her voice but had the request turned down.

Part of the problem, according to a complaint filed through a district court in Tel Aviv, is that while Gura-Eini's voice is "widely identified and associated" with her real-life persona, through Siri it's been turned "into a vehicle for improper and humiliating speech." This includes sexist, racist, and violent phrases.

The complaint insists that when Gura-Eini originally recorded her voice for Nuance in 2007, she granted rights for use in speech production software and "legitimate" purposes only.

In response to the allegations, Apple laywer Amir Halevy said that the company did obtain rights to the recordings, and that Gura-Eini doesn't have any and has already been compensated. A representative for the company maintained that "her voice on the Siri app is nothing but syllables joined together by an algorithm."

Until 2017 Gura-Eini was also well-known in Israel as one of the Hebrew voices for Google's Waze navigation app. An app update removed her and some other Hebrew voices as options.
gilly33ronn

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    netroxnetrox Posts: 826member
    This is just too ridiculous.
    williamlondonjbdragonjeffharrissergiozmac_dogwatto_cobraMacPro
  • Reply 2 of 20
    She said, they said. Interesting to see how this proceeds. I’m thinking Apple did due diligence but you never know. 
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    neilmneilm Posts: 658member
    "Galit Gura-Eini is asking for about $66,000 in damages according to Calcalist, saying she was surprised to learn she'd become Siri when the Hebrew version of the AI assistant debuted in 2016. Earlier in 2018, she reportedly asked Apple to remove her voice but had the request turned down.

    Part of the problem, according to a complaint filed through a district court in Tel Aviv, is that while Gura-Eini's voice is "widely identified and associated" with her real-life persona, through Siri it's been turned "into a vehicle for improper and humiliating speech." This includes sexist, racist, and violent phrases.

    The complaint insists that when Gura-Eini originally recorded her voice for Nuance in 2007, she granted rights for use in speech production software and "legitimate" purposes only."

    So, "improper and humiliating speech"... but oh, $66 grand will take care of it. Now that's integrity! I'd guess that the amount is finely calculated to be below the threshold of a major corporation's potential interest in litigation expenditure.

    "Legitimate purposes" probably means lawful purposes. Unless Nuance was totally incompetent she would have signed a boilerplate release with them back in 2007, just as all hired talent does. Whatever its terms are will govern the outcome of this storm in a teacup, but "use in speech production software" certainly seems to cover Siri.
    edited December 2018 jbdragonjeffharrisAppleExposedwatto_cobraMacProradarthekat
  • Reply 4 of 20
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,129member
    I don't get this. I am sure she was compensated for the work she did for Nuance even if it was a small amount and probably 100% hourly based. As for the statement:

    'Siri it's been turned "into a vehicle for improper and humiliating speech."'

    ???

    It would be nice to know the views she thinks Siri has that are improper and humiliating. My guess is she had no idea what Nuance was going to use this for and had even less clue Apple would use Nuance's work as the basis for Siri voice command and control. Now she just wants more of the pie.
    jbdragonjeffharriswatto_cobraMacProradarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 20
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 617member
    $66,000? wonder how that dollar figure was calculated? in her mind, that's proper restitution for "humiliating speech" in her likeness?
    edited December 2018 gilly33watto_cobraMacProradarthekat
  • Reply 6 of 20
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,689unconfirmed, member
  • Reply 7 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    NY1822 said:
    $66,000? wonder how that dollar figure was calculated? in her mind, that's proper restitution for "humiliating speech" in her likeness?
    The suit wasn't filed in the US, it's an Israeli lawsuit, and the $66K is a dollar conversion from NIS 250,000. 
    sandorMplsPronn
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Ohhh a hashtag. Must be serious. Whatever. 
    watto_cobraMacProcornchip
  • Reply 9 of 20
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,519member
    netrox said:
    This is just too ridiculous.
    Yes, but only because you're a nobody, and nobody would care that it was your voice that made made allegedly, sexist, racist, and violent phrases. Obviously you wouldn't care. As her voice apparently has cachét that yours lacks, I could see she'd be concerned.

    gilly33 said:
    She said, they said. Interesting to see how this proceeds. I’m thinking Apple did due diligence but you never know. 
    I imagine Apple did, and in this case, Nuance as well. The boilerplate probably wasn't specific enough to exclude use by Apple and anything that she might find objectionable and put her in a bad light, possibly jeopardizing her job/career.

    She wouldn't be the first celebrity to have their image or voice used in an unforeseen and undesirable manner, but good legal teams been much better at avoiding that, particularly in the 'digital age'.


    steven n. said:
    I don't get this. I am sure she was compensated for the work she did for Nuance even if it was a small amount and probably 100% hourly based. As for the statement:

    'Siri it's been turned "into a vehicle for improper and humiliating speech."'

    ???

    It would be nice to know the views she thinks Siri has that are improper and humiliating. My guess is she had no idea what Nuance was going to use this for and had even less clue Apple would use Nuance's work as the basis for Siri voice command and control. Now she just wants more of the pie.
    As to her idea of improper and humiliating, I'd say 'sexist, racist, and violent phrases' might be a clue.  I agree she had no idea how it would actually turn out. Sadly, she and her legal council may not have done their due diligence.

    As to 'just wanting more of the pie, I don't agree. And I think there just might be a cease and desist tied to the compensation claim.


    gatorguy said:
    The suit wasn't filed in the US, it's an Israeli lawsuit, and the $66K is a dollar conversion from NIS 250,000. 
    Yes, we sometimes (read: usually) to consider that there is a whole world outside our own and that localization matters. $66K is chickenfeed in a lot of places, but NIS 250,000 might be real money where she is. Still, it's pocket lint to Apple. At the very least Apple should follow suit (lol) with Waze and remove her voice.

    It'll be interesting to see how this goes if and when more information becomes available. The good thing for us is that we don't need actual facts. They're just hurdles in jumping to conclusions fueled by idolatry. Great fun!

    dysamoriaronn
  • Reply 10 of 20
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 725editor
    neilm said:
    "Galit Gura-Eini is asking for about $66,000 in damages according to Calcalist, saying she was surprised to learn she'd become Siri when the Hebrew version of the AI assistant debuted in 2016. Earlier in 2018, she reportedly asked Apple to remove her voice but had the request turned down.

    Part of the problem, according to a complaint filed through a district court in Tel Aviv, is that while Gura-Eini's voice is "widely identified and associated" with her real-life persona, through Siri it's been turned "into a vehicle for improper and humiliating speech." This includes sexist, racist, and violent phrases.

    The complaint insists that when Gura-Eini originally recorded her voice for Nuance in 2007, she granted rights for use in speech production software and "legitimate" purposes only."

    So, "improper and humiliating speech"... but oh, $66 grand will take care of it. Now that's integrity! I'd guess that the amount is finely calculated to be below the threshold of a major corporation's potential interest in litigation expenditure.

    "Legitimate purposes" probably means lawful purposes. Unless Nuance was totally incompetent she would have signed a boilerplate release with them back in 2007, just as all hired talent does. Whatever its terms are will govern the outcome of this storm in a teacup, but "use in speech production software" certainly seems to cover Siri.
    You have to do the currency conversion. 66000 USD sounds weird, but 250,000 ILS is a nice, round number. I don't know how she arrived at that number for damages, but a quarter of a million shekels is a lot more sensible of a number than 66 thousand US.
    watto_cobramacgui
  • Reply 11 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,729member
    Sounds like this comes down to the interpretation of her original contract with Nuance. If she didn't forbid re-sale of her voice recordings Nuance is likely in the clear.  Likewise, if she granted rights for "Speech production and 'legitimate' purposes only" one would have a hard time arguing that Siri is not a legitimate purpose. Now, Siri could possibly be made to say unseemly things, just like all of the AI assistants, but unless Gura-Eini has other language in the contract, she probably doesn't have any recourse. Beyond that, it is clearly understood by the public that utterances by digital assistants like Siri are fabricated and not in any way representative of original person's thoughts or opinions. As such, actual harm is very difficult to prove.
    watto_cobraradarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,378member
    Her complaint sounds more like a Wailing Wah.





    (I have no opinion of the claim, I just wanted to make that pun)
    edited December 2018 gatorguywatto_cobraMplsPhammeroftruth
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Almost all actors have agents (Bill Murray excepted.) Agents find the work. Agents negotiate the price. Agents read the contract. Agents ask the actor to "sign here." Agents keep their clients happy by getting them jobs they want. Then agents take about 10% (up to 25% in some US states.) If she had an agent who gave her this job, she should fire the agent or sue the agent. If she acted as her own agent she should have read the contract carefully. I'm guessing she doesn't have an agent and didn't read the contract.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    The suit will go nowhere. 
    Apple will find another voice for the Hebrew Siri. 
    This will all be over in a few months.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Am I The I only one that wonders what Siri is saying that qualifies as "improper and humiliating speech” or “sexist, racist and violent phrases”?

    What is it that Hebrew Siri says that English Siri does not?
    watto_cobrabloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 16 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,456member
    She smells more money.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,349member
    Am I The I only one that wonders what Siri is saying that qualifies as "improper and humiliating speech” or “sexist, racist and violent phrases”?

    What is it that Hebrew Siri says that English Siri does not?
    It’s not that Siri has offensive things programmed in that it can say. It’s that the text to speech function, using her voice, is being used by some people to say offensive things in her voice. It’s not really about Siri. It’s about text to speech and the voice used in that language.
    gatorguymacgui
  • Reply 18 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,349member

    MacPro said:
    She smells more money.
    Your comment smells like passing judgement without any actual understanding of the situation. 
    macguironn
  • Reply 19 of 20
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,519member
    dysamoria said:

    MacPro said:
    She smells more money.
    Your comment smells like passing judgement without any actual understanding of the situation. 
    As as such, it stinks. When you have nothing to lose, it's easy to lack perception and not care about it.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    macgui said:
    dysamoria said:

    MacPro said:
    She smells more money.
    Your comment smells like passing judgement without any actual understanding of the situation. 
    As as such, it stinks. When you have nothing to lose, it's easy to lack perception and not care about it.
    We also most likely don't have the entire story either. There are 2 sides to every story and both sides usually stretch the truth a little. So you can choose who you want to believe. 
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