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If you use TikTok’s viral text-to-speech feature, you will be familiar with Beverly Standing’s voice as it is getting heard just about everywhere. Until recently, Beverly had no idea it was being used and now the voice actor is looking to sue; stating she never authorized TikTok’s use. The freshly filed suit makes claims that the manner in which it is being used by third parties to narrate their own footage could cause “irreparable harm.” There are already many instances in which the actor’s voice has been repeating“foul and offensive language”.Professional companies looking for a voice actor likely won’t want to be associated.

The lawsuit sheds no light on exactly how Standing’s voice came to be involved with TikTok. The actor once recorded for a text-to-speech feature, the recordings were captured for the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) many years ago. The contract was supposed to be used for translations of Chinese texts. This is obviously where they were sourced initially but Standing gave the IOA no further authorization outside of the Chinese company contract. So by the lawsuit’s telling her voice data shouldn’t have been passed on to other parties to use.

Not much can be dug up on the IOA. In a write-up for The Verge, Jacob Kastrenakes discovered there are 2 IOA groups. So we can’t be sure who the lawsuit is referring to. One is listed suspiciously as being based in “Edenborough Scotland” but the capital of Scotland is Edinburgh and the other is based in China.

TikTok made the voice popular back in November 2020

Standing first recognized her voice back in November 2020 and by the end of the year, it appeared to have become a viral sensation. TikTok didn’t officially announce their text feature until December last year, but some accounts were offered it early to test the water. The new feature was welcomed by content creators as it allows them to add text to their videos that then gets read aloud to the viewer. Unless you have been living under a rock you will have no doubt heard one by now. In fact, some of you can probably hear Beverly’s calm, robotic voice narrating this in your head right now.

Standing’s voice in our socially distanced, smartphone in hand world has become much more recognizable but that doesn’t mean there will necessarily be new work on the horizon for Beverly professionally. Having previously had roles for commercials, radio, and other client videos she is worried about her future as a voice talent. In an interview for The Telegraph Standing summed up her fears and how she felt, saying “No matter what I do, I believe this is going to affect my business”.

The Telegraph, like The Verge, only had Bev’s side of the story. TikTok is yet to publicly respond on the matter as it is an ongoing litigation. If successful, the suit is demanding TikTok discontinue the use of Standing’s voice as well as payment for the usage up until now.

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