What voices can I clone?
This guide helps you understand how you can use our voice technology safely, follow best practice, and respect our terms of service. What constitutes a lawful use of voice cloning may vary depending on who created the content you are reusing, where you are located and where you publish your materials. This guide describes what constitutes safe uses of voice cloning in most countries, with a focus on countries in the European Union and the United Kingdom.
This guide does not constitute legal advice.
What do we mean by voice cloning?
“Voice cloning” is the digital imitation of a person’s voice with high fidelity results.
When you use our voice cloning technology you upload a recorded voice, and our model creates its digital representation. You can then use this digital representation to generate new speech.
Our cloning technology produces voices which sound similar but are not technically identical to the materials you have uploaded.
You can voice clone in three scenarios, with exceptions described below:
This rule applies even if you use your own materials to generate a clone, or have received others’ permissions. If you use voice cloning technology for harmful purposes you may be criminally liable. As a service provider, we may be obligated by law to report criminal and other unlawful activities occurring on our sites. We may also suspend or terminate your account.
Cloning a voice safely, and following best practice, is a simple two-step process you can follow yourself. We describe what this process looks like in practice in the next section.
To find out more, go to:
There are usually two steps involved in working with voice cloning technology: making the voice clone and sharing it. We explain each step below and give you tips on what you can do to make things easier.
You need three key source materials to generate your voice clone:
Each source material may carry different rights. Typically, a voice is protected by rights such as personal data, personality, publicity or performers’ rights. The recording may carry copyright in the spoken words and in the recording itself. The “input” text can also be protected by copyright.
If you are using your own voice and have created your own recording and text, you can safely use them to generate your voice clone. This is because as the creator you will own the rights in your materials.
If you are using other people’s content, you will need to “clear” the rights in the materials to be able to use them for voice cloning. “Clearing rights” means asking for permission to use the materials from the people who own them, or checking that the law allows you to use the materials without permission.
To find out more, go to:
You should always credit the creators of the source materials you have used to generate your voice clone (including yourself!).
Be as precise as possible in your credits. Indicate whose voice you have cloned, who produced and edited the sound recordings, and who wrote the text you’ve used to prompt new speech in the voice clone.
You will need to credit ElevenLabs when you share your voice clone if you use our default voices on our free-tier account.
To find out more, go to:
Make it clear that your voice clone is manipulated content, and as such it does not constitute an “authentic” recording of the imitated voice.
You can do so by adding a notice in the text or images accompanying the voice clone when you share it - for example by a simple mention that your content is AI-generated. You can also make your voice clone read your notice at the start or the end of the recording by including this information in your “input” text.
Your voice clone may be original enough to be protected by its own intellectual property rights. If this is the case, you may be the owner of the rights in the voice clone. You may also own the rights in other source materials you have created, like the text you have used to prompt new speech.
It is always useful to tell others what they can or cannot do with your voice clone when you share it. If you are happy for the public to use your voice clone, tell them!
Explain whether you have conditions for the use of your voice clone by others. For example, are you happy for people to use your voice clone for commercial and non-commercial purposes? Can other people modify and repurpose your voice clone? Do you want to be credited as the creator of the voice clone?
If you clone your own voice and share it under a free license, your license will also allow others to re-clone your voice to generate new speech. If you do not want this to happen, make sure you exclude this permission from the scope of your license.
While you are the owner of your materials, you also give us a license to your contributions (including your voice clone) when you upload or connect them to our sites. For more on this, revisit our terms of service.
To find out more, go to:
Today, intellectual property and related rights apply to almost any content we make. Most rights do not need to be registered to apply, they arise when new content is created. Rights also last a very long time. For example, copyright can last for the lifetime of the creator plus seventy years after their death.
For these reasons, it is safe to assume that most of the content you come across (like text, images or sound) is protected and that the rights are owned by their creators. You will need their permission to use their voice or content for cloning.
You may not need to get permission from other creators if you are voice cloning for study or research, education, parody or satire, quotation, criticism or review or contribute to public debates. This exception does not apply if you receive a commercial benefit from your voice clone, or impact creators’ economic interests.
Keep in mind that someone’s voice can be regarded as their personal data by the law. Someone’s personal data can be used with their consent or in the pursuit of a legitimate interest (like contributing to public debates) if you do not interfere with their privacy.
Content which is not protected by law can be reused freely, including for voice cloning. This type of content is also known as content “in the public domain” or “public domain” content.
Content in the public domain will include:
You can use the voice and content of others with their consent. You need to get their permission before using their materials on voice cloning technology.
Contact the creator (or owner) of the voice or content. Explain what materials you want to use, how you plan on using it, and for what purpose. Describe how and where you intend to share your voice clone. If the creator (or owner) agrees to your terms, you can go ahead with your plans.
Some content creators monetize their work by allowing others to use their materials in exchange for a fee. You can negotiate the fee based on what value their content represents to you, how much and how long you will use their content for, and your budget.
It is best to have their permission in writing, which can include emails, social media messages or texts. Keep a copy of the permission somewhere safe in case you need to return to it later.
For example you might write something like:
You are sometimes allowed to use someone else’s voice or content (like text or sound recordings) without their permission. This will be the case in limited circumstances including:
You can use another person’s voice or content for private study and non-commercial research without their permission.
Private study is defined as the task of learning new knowledge. Research is understood as the process of studying to eventually create new knowledge. In practice, the two are often connected.
You can not share the voice clone with other people and you cannot direct a commercial gain (direct or indirect) from either activity. If you do, you will need the permission of the people owning the rights to the materials you’ve used.
Schools and other education establishments can use content without the permission of the people owning the rights to the materials if they are used for teaching purposes.
Schools and other education establishments may use the voices of anyone who can reasonably expect their voices to be imitated or reused in public like public figures or performers.
This allowance only applies if teaching services are provided on a non-commercial basis.
You can use voice cloning technology to make a caricature, parody or satire of a person, or of the content they’ve created. You can use the voice of anyone who can reasonably expect their voices to be used in the context, like a public figure.
The voice clone needs to be sufficiently different from the source materials. The intention to produce a caricature, parody or satire needs to be very clear and obvious. The voice clone also needs to communicate an element of humour or mockery to be recognized as a caricature, parody or satire. You cannot use caricatures, parodies or satires to convey discriminatory messages, hate speech or other harmful content.
You can use another person’s voice or content without their permission for criticism or review. The source materials need to be publicly available before you use them in your voice clone for criticism or review.
Your voice clone can comment on any aspects of the source materials you’ve used, or convey strong negative opinions about the content as long as they are not defamatory.
You can quote someone’s content without their permission by using very short excerpts from source materials in your voice clone.
This mainly applies to the text prompting new speech in your voice clone which can be made of quotes from different texts (books, lyrics, newspapers).
Under existing laws, it is not clear whether you can use short excerpts of someone else’s voice without their permission. It may be possible to quote the voices of UK-based artists and public figures who do not own personality or similar rights in other countries. However it can be difficult to find out whether someone holds such rights in countries outside the UK.
For this reason, it is safer to avoid using someone else’s voice without their permission in these circumstances. Instead, use one’s own voice or one of ElevenLab’s default voices or ask for the person’s permission before using their voice in your voice clone.
You can use someone’s voice or content without their permission if your voice clone contributes to debates of public interest. In this context, your voice clone may be protected as “free speech”.
If your voice clone generates direct or indirect commercial benefits, it will be considered “commercial speech” and be excluded from your right to “free speech”.
Note that your right of free speech is narrow and will be balanced against the rights of privacy and intellectual property owned by the people whose voice or content you are using.
“Crediting your sources” means naming the person who created the materials you have used to generate your voice clone.
You credit someone by attributing their name to their content.
For example you can write:
You can include your credits by adding this information in:
Communicating your rights and permissions” means stating what rights you own in the materials (including your voice clone) and what permissions (if any) you are happy to give others to reuse your content.
Communicate this information alongside the voice clone in accompanying text, images or within the voice clone itself.
If you want others to respect your rights in the voice clone and ask you for permission to reuse, you can write:
All rights reserved in the voice clone. Creation and rights owned by [your name].
If you are happy for others to reuse your voice clone for free without asking for your permission first, you can tell them and specify what types of re-use is allowed. You are effectively extending a free license to the future users of your voice clone.
Here are examples of different licenses:
If you clone your own voice, you may be happy for others to reuse the clone you have made on the condition that they do not re-clone your voice to generate new speech. You can exclude cloning or synthesization (another word for digital cloning) from the scope of your license by including a term to that effect. For example, you can write:
You can pick and choose the conditions of your license which best fit your project.
Have a look at the tools designed by the organization Creative Commons to find ideas of terms to use in your license.
Creative Commons has come up with simple buttons and tools to communicate permissions for the reuse of your materials. They are a useful way to communicate your rights and permissions because they are easily recognizable by the public.
Link: Creative Commons
You can read our policies in our terms of service.
If you violate our policies or terms of service, we may suspend or terminate your account. If this happens, you may lose access to projects you’ve created through your account and we may not allow you to create a new account.
We may also report any illegal activity in accordance with applicable laws to the authorities or work with authorities on further action.
Guide written by Dr Mathilde Pavis for ElevenLabs