Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Where We Are Now ...


Ya know, I really can't stand when Karens call attorneys at the drop of a hat because somebody made their coffee too hot or something.  

Plus it's  just a very white-privileged thing to do, right?

You don't hear people of color saying "I'm going to sue!" often because they're not entitled,  they often can't afford attorneys for stuff like this, and they already know they'll lose against the rich and powerful, so why bother?

And there's probably several things, over the course of my life, I could've and should've sued for, especially during the recession as a single mom and some things that went on at work, but I didn't because: 1) I had no money, 2) The rich and powerful with fancy lawyers will always win against the poor, in our society,  3) I think our society is already overly litigious, and 4) I don't want to put myself through all that, I'd rather just walk away and find better people, right?

And my whole point in resigning from this new job over it was to keep myself from being put through a bunch of drama, I didn't want to make big stink about anything.  I've gone back to my old job, everything's fine - won't be making as much as I did at this new one, but it'll be fine.

HOWEVER .... this is my literal voice ... like, literal ownership of my actual voice, obtained and used under false pretense by my supervisor and used for profit - how much is it worth it to me to get the rights to my own voice back?

So when I sent my letter of resignation, I asked, in good faith - assuming the company didn't know what he had done - if they could just reassure me that the file would not be used or it would be destroyed.

They did not do that. They didn't say anything at all.

They just locked me out of all accounts and sent me an email to my private email address saying they'd send a box for me to send my equipment back in.

That's fine, that's standard corporate procedure when you resign immediately, for whatever reason - but I was hoping for reassurance that the voice file was destroy/not be used.

But I can see where legal might've said "Don't mention it, any admission that we have even have it in our possession may be an admission of guilt."

But it really, really irks me that they can use my voice to say whatever they write in a script now - and not just me, but anyone - when I specifically said in an unfortunately unrecorded call meeting, NOT to use it that way.  

I mean, the software they'd bought had a stock voice sample titled something like "middle-aged news voice" that sounded exactly like former news anchor, Brian Williams -  super scary!  

So I was recommended a specific media/IT/employee rights attorney, and encouraged to call them, just to see what we could do about not getting my voice back without actually filing a suit.

At first, I immediately pooh-poohed this idea because the whole point of me resigning was to avoid a fight or trouble.

So I really liked the guy, he was super honest with me, and said that the precedent has not been set yet on AI use of images or likenesses without permission, it wasn't officially illegal yet, so he didn't know how far we could get at present.

But he added that certain state congresses were in the process as we speak of protecting not just celebrities' voices, but everyday people from unauthorized use of their voice. 

However, in my case, it's not just unauthorized use of voice for profit, it's violating privacy, it's labor exploitation, it's defining who actually owns my actual voice and the rights to it - there are so many violations here in like a Venn diagram.

He was completely intrigued, but realistic in what could actually be accomplished according to current law on all of those fronts of violations, not just unauthorized use of voice.

I made it very clear that all I wanted was my voice back, not money - if I'd wanted that, I would've fought for compensation rather than quit. 

Because as mentioned a few posts below, once upon a time, I was in an abusive situation where I wasn't allowed a voice - and in fact, began blogging in 2005 (different blog, under a pseudonym), just to preserve it somewhere until I could escape that situation.  

I promised myself that no one would ever control the use of my voice again - so having my voice is one of the most important things in the world to me.

Interesting that life often forces you to face again what you fear most, isn't it? 

Regardless of what I decide, as mentioned in the post below, being that they decided not to address the voice file in response to my resignation letter, these posts - without the company's name - will stay up until I have assurance that my voice is no longer being used without my permission. 

So if you receive a call from a major pharmacy chain with an automated voice in 2024, telling you that your refill is ready, asking for you to confirm your address, or respond to a customer-service questionnaire, it very well could be me - only I didn't say any of that.  My voice was used to read a script that they created - over and over again - without my consent or compensation.

And again, I'm not a voice actor - I'm a transcriptionist - basically, a secretary.  

If they can do this to me, they can do it to anybody - everyone from janitors to CEOs, doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, presidents, prime ministers, royalty -  saying anything they like for profit, because there are no laws to prevent it - AND they can say it's a "AI-generated likeness" of the person, not the actual person - but the consumer won't know the difference 😔.

And if you're going to have this software, how smart is it to put someone with a complete lack of ethics in chare of it - or do you WANT legal headaches?

As for me, I won't make any decisions about whether I want to pursue this legally while I'm still emotionally close to it, plus I don't know if I can afford it anyway, at least not now.


PS - 

In case you're wondering, like I do, how could someone like me come across so many unethical, even scary situations in her life - does she just love drama?

I don't know, I've been in therapy a long time, trying to figure that out.

And it's when I try to get out/back away from them that I get the most trouble - I try to avoid conflict, drama, and attention as much as possible.  It's why I blog in the corner, here, without my comments open.

So if you care to tell me what I did to bring on this drama, when all I did was apply for a job, get it, and then be asked to do something for them, which I did out of good will and to be a team player, only to be cheated like this, then feel free to tell me?

I guess I'm an idiot that doesn't listen to her instincts from the get-go about people, chalking it up to her alarm bells screaming at her to just being her PTSD and dismissing it - again.

But I DID say in 2 private call meetings that I specifically didn't want it used this way without compensation.

Or you can read this previous post about the hypervigilance of PTSD making you notice things you don't wish you hadn't seen/heard and not being unable to shut it off lol.

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