Jay-Z takes legal action against creator of ‘deepfakes’ of him rapping ‘Hamlet’ and Billy Joel

A creator on YouTube has said that copyright notices were filed by Roc Nation

Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation has reportedly filed takedown notices against “deepfake” videos that use artificial intelligence to make him rap Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ and Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy.

“Deepfakes” commonly use artificial intelligence software to combine and superimpose existing images and videos of a person to make it look they have said something they have not.

A creator on YouTube, only known as Vocal Synthesis, has said that copyright notices were filed by Roc Nation.


The user, who has 41,000 subscribers on YouTube, claims that Roc Nation stated: “This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice.”

Jay-Z (Picture: Getty)

Although the two aforementioned videos have been removed at the time of writing, the others remain on the channel — with one showing the rapper apparently taking on the biblical book of Genesis.

Using the voices of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Vocal Synthesis said via a deepfake video that they had “no malicious purpose” and were “disappointed that Jay-Z and Roc Nation have decided to bully a small YouTuber in this way”.

NME has contacted Roc Nation for comment.