Bev Standing says the social media app TikTok is using her voice to narrate user videos without her permission. (Submitted)

Bev Standing says the social media app TikTok is using her voice to narrate user videos without her permission. (Submitted)

Canadian voice actor sues TikTok for alleged illegal use of her voice

‘By having my text-to-speech voice on TikTok, which I was not hired to do, it can be detrimental to my actual career,’ says Bev Standing

The popular social media platform TikTok has illegally used and profited from the voice of a professional Canadian voice-over artist, a civil lawsuit filed in the United States alleges.

In her untested statement of claim, Beverly (Bev) Standing is seeking unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against the short-form video site for what she alleges is the unauthorized use of her voice and lack of compensation.

Standing, of Welland, Ont., alleges she found out in November that TikTok was using her vocals for its female computer-generated voice. Among other things, she says some of the TikTok videos contained foul and offensive language.

“I get paid to speak. I get paid to represent brands,” Standing said in an interview on Thursday. “By having my text-to-speech voice on TikTok — which I was not hired to do — it can be detrimental to my actual career.”

Standing, who said she has hundreds of commercial clients in radio, television and the corporate world, said she wants to be acknowledged for her work. But she said she also has a larger purpose with the suit.

“It’s really important for voice talent, 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 voice world.”

Delaware-based ByteDance, the corporate entity that controls TikTok and which is named as a defendant, did not respond to a request for comment. It has yet to file a statement of defence.

The suit filed this month in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, says Standing’s voice and likeness are well known in the U.S. and elsewhere. She claims she has suffered “significant injury and irreparable harm” as a result of the alleged unauthorized use.

“Plaintiff has invested substantial effort in preserving, protecting, and honing her reputation, and has amassed substantial goodwill,” her claim states. “By misappropriating plaintiff’s voice and likeness, defendants have not only traded on plaintiff’s earned goodwill, but are also depriving the defendant of the ability to control her reputation.”

TikTok, she alleges, has created the “false and misleading representation” that she endorses various products and services when, in fact, she has not done so.

“Defendants’ conduct, as described above, was deliberate and wilful, has created and will create a likelihood of confusion, mistake, and deception,” she argues. “Defendants have engaged in such acts intentionally or with reckless disregard for whether the public is confused and deceived.”

The claim requests a hearing by a jury which would, if it agreed with her, decide on an appropriate damages award.

Standing said she has had strong support from the voice-over community in taking on TikTok.

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

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

TikTok

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

File photo
Update: Leduc RCMP request assistance to identify armed robbery suspect

Leduc RCMP are searching for suspect involved in an armed robbery at the Leduc Giant Tiger.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read