9 October 2015

Digital Diva Keeps Her Mouth

Ava Virtue programmers win in Appeals Court

Federal judge Willard Li upheld a district court's decision against Russian pop star Valentina Markova, who sued ImageIn Software for copying the image of her mouth as part of the construction of the virtual singer Ava Virtue, ImageIn's major money maker. The court held that "while it is clear that the defendants used one or more of Ms. Markova's facial characteristics, the composite face cannot be mistaken for Ms. Markova by any reasonable person." The judge did overturn the part of the ruling that required the Markova camp to pay ImageIn's legal fees.

ImageIn, for it's part, claims it has been nothing but upfront about the matter from the start. "We never once claimed that we didn't base Ava's mouth on Ms. Markova's," said Jeff Johansen, founder and CEO of the company. "We are all huge fans of her work. But we created a composite character, and we're glad the courts continue to agree that it infringes on the rights of no one."

Ava split a headline last night with Japanese virtual performer Hatsune Miku. Unlike her more cartoonish (and famous) Japanese counterpart, Ava is photorealistic. The two haven't let that difference get between them—their combined tour, "Beings of Light", is scheduled to hit most major cities in the US and Japan, with a simultaneous finale in LA and Tokyo on 6 November.

During last night's performance at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Ava performed Markova's 2014 hit "Вечность (Eternity)"—ironically, with her permission.

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