Voiceverse NFT, the company that prolific video game voice actor Troy Baker announced he would partner with last week, has now admitted to using voice lines created by a non-commercial rival.
The NFT-powered brand hit the headlines last week after Baker boldly announced he would back the company - and that his fans could "hate", or "create". The announcement received a universally negative response.
The idea behind Voiceverse NFT is that you buy the rights to a particular voice - originally performed by a voice actor - as an NFT using planet-burning cryptocurrency. You could then use those audio rights to create your own AI-powered voice lines.
However, in now-deleted tweets, Voiceverse was found to have boasted about using its tech for the voice of a cartoon character - which was in fact created using 15.ai, a popular non-commercial text-to-speech service.
Unlike Voiceverse NFT, 15.ai is free to use and play around with. Using just 15 seconds of voice samples from various fictional characters, its tech lets you type in text and get, say, David Tennant's Tenth Doctor or Glados from Portal to read out what you wrote.
Last Friday evening, the 15.ai creator wrote on Twitter that they were aware Voiceverse NFT was "actively attempting to appropriate my work for their own benefit". Indeed, log files apparently showed Voiceverse NFT had used 15.ai for an AI-powered voice to be sold as an NFT.
Via Twitter, Voiceverse NFT claimed its tech was behind the voiced animation of a cat published by NFT firm Chubbiverse. The original tweet has now been deleted, but you can see it saved below:
The creator of 15.ai said the voice work was actually just an output from its own service, edited slightly so it sounded different.
"Unbelievable. They even pitched up the voice to intentionally make it sound unrecognisable from Rainbow Dash's original voice," 15.ai's creator wrote, referring to a My Little Pony voice available on the service.
Voiceverse NFT later replied, admitting it had used 15.ai, while apologising for its use "without giving proper credit".
"Hey @fifteenai we are extremely sorry about this," Voiceverse NFT wrote. "The voice was indeed taken from your platform, which our marketing team used without giving proper credit. Chubbiverse team has no knowledge of this. We will make sure this never happens again."
Late last Friday, Baker issued a string of tweets walking back some of the language he'd used to promote NFTs earlier that day - "The 'hate/create' part might have been a bit antagonistic...", he wrote. Baker did not, however, say he would no longer promote Voiceverse NFT or lend his voice to the service.