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Who owns your voice? Linguistic and legal perspectives on the relationship between vocal distinctiveness and the rights of the individual speaker

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Publication details

JournalInternational Journal of Speech, Language and the Law
DateIn preparation - 22 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - 2 Mar 2020
Issue number2
Number of pages43
Pages (from-to)137-180
Original languageEnglish


Only in very recent times has the concept of ‘ownership’ of a human voice begun
to demand proper consideration in terms of its legal implications. The current lack
of clarity with respect to the rights afforded to individuals and organisations in
this area is something that must be addressed as a matter of some urgency, given
that voice samples are now collected on an unprecedented scale, with or without
the knowledge or consent of the person(s) who produced the captured speech. In
this article we explore the issue of voice ownership from a variety of perspectives,
starting with an attempt to define what the voice actually is, and then considering
how representations of a talker’s voice at greater or lesser levels of concreteness (or
‘tangibility’) can be misappropriated and misused in unethical or unlawful ways.

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    Research areas

  • Linguistics, speech and language processing, property, Ownership, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

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