Bollywood stalwart Anil Kapoor wins legal battle to protect personality rights from AI misuse

NEW DELHI (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday (Sept 20) ruled that the personality rights of Bollywood stalwart Anil Kapoor (pic) will be protected against any potential misuse of artificial intelligence (AI).

This comes after Kapoor, who has starred in several hit Bollywood movies including the 2008 Oscar-winner “Slumdog Millionaire”, won an interim order against 16 defendants for infringing upon his personality rights, reported Outlook India magazine on Wednesday.

Kapoor’s personality rights include his name, likeness, image and voice.

The court order bars people from using Kapoor’s personality rights for commercial purposes or on social media platforms, reported Indian news outlet Firstpost on Thursday.

Justice Pratibha Singh also barred the use of AI tools to morph Kapoor’s image or use it to create GIFs for monetary gain, said Indian newspaper Business Standard on Thursday.

The judge said that such actions violate Kapoor’s rights, added the report.

Kapoor filed a lawsuit after numerous morphed videos and emojis featuring his iconic exclamation “jhakas” from the 1985 film ‘Yudh’ went viral on social media, The Current, a Pakistan news outlet, reported on Thursday.

The saying, which roughly translates as “awesome” or “wicked”, is now protected under the court order, reported American magazine Variety.

As reported by The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday, Pravin Anand, Kapoor’s lawyer, pointed to the unauthorised sale of merchandise and collection of fees by using his client’s photograph as a motivational speaker, among other things.

Anand also pointed out that Kapoor’s image was morphed in a derogatory manner.

The country’s Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was asked to issue blocking orders against pornographic videos that used morphed images of Kapoor, reported Business Standard.

After a detailed hearing, the court acknowledged Kapoor’s personality rights and imposed restrictions on the use of his personality rights without his permission.

In a report by The Indian Express on Thursday, the court said that technological tools such as AI now make it possible for any unauthorised user to make use of a celebrity’s persona.

“The celebrity also enjoys the right of privacy and does not wish that his or her image, or voice, is portrayed in a dark manner as is being done on porn websites,” said the court.

Speaking to Variety, Kapoor said he was very happy with the court order in his favour.

“I think it’s very progressive and great for not only me, but for other actors also,” Variety reported his as saying on Wednesday.

“Because of the way... AI technology... can be misused commercially, as well as where my image, voice, morphing, GIFs and deep fakes are concerned, I can straight away... send a court order and injunction, and they have to pull it down,” Kapoor said.

Misuse of AI is one of the issues behind the ongoing Screen Actors Guild strike. Kapoor, who is represented by David Unger at Artist International Group in Hollywood, has expressed his support for his fellow actors.

“This (court order) should be great, positive news for all of them to a certain extent. And I am always, completely with them in every way. I feel their rights should be protected, because everybody, big, small, popular, not popular, every actor has the right to protect themselves and their rights,” said Kapoor.

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India , Anil Kapoor , AI , rights


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