Community Partner Spotlight: National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA)

Today, we turn the spotlight over to one of our community partners, the National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA). They are a non-profit organization that seeks to “advocate and promote the advancement of the voice acting industry through action, education, inclusion, and benefits.” After you read their spotlight blog, be sure to follow them on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

What is the history of your organization, and what is its mission?

NAVA was formed in 2022 as a professional association for voice actors with the mission of being a place of advocacy in the voiceover industry. Our pillars are action, inclusion, education and benefits. When you think of “voiceover” images of cartoons and video games might come to mind. But voice actors do so much more than make funny voices on TV. Voice actors are the voices of the phone systems you interact with every day. We voice company training videos, and read medication safety information. We narrate your favorite documentaries and TV shows. We accompany you on long car rides through podcasts and audiobooks. And of course, we bring life to iconic animated characters in TV, film, and video games. Because of generative AI, our jobs, careers, security, and livelihoods are at risk.

NAVA exists not only to protect the voice actors who are currently working, but also to shape the future of our industry, so that there will be work available for generations of voice actors to come.

How do you support members of the creative community, and how can a creator get involved with your organization? 

In 2023, NAVA released a groundbreaking contract addendum/rider which helps protect creatives against the unauthorized use of their voice, likeness, and image for AI training and synthesization. The contract rider is free and available to the public on our website, and has been used successfully hundreds of times. We also launched our #fAIrVoices campaign on social media, which calls for fAIr consent, control, and compensation for creatives anytime artificial intelligence is involved. Professional voice actors can join NAVA by visiting, and all creators can follow us on social media @NAVAvoices.

What inspired your organization to become a Copyright Alliance community partner?

The Copyright Alliance has been leading the way on issues surrounding AI from the very beginning, and NAVA is honored to be a community partner. We are thrilled to stand alongside so many impactful creative organizations, and know that together we can make a big difference not only for artists, but for the world at large. 

How have copyright and related issues affected your organization and its creator base?

Copyright is a complex topic for voice actors, because no one owns the copyright to the sound of their voice. In fact, as work for hire independent contractors creating the voices for characters which are a part of someone else’s IP, we often don’t have a direct claim over the performances we give. Voice actors have seen their voices scraped from video games and put through AI voice generation software to make all kinds of things, but because the video game company owns the intellectual property, it is the responsibility of the video game company to ask for it to be taken down, However, we do have some protections for sound files we create at home. We are looking into technology and legislation which would give all people rights over their own voice, likeness, and image. 

What is one thing you wish creators understood more clearly about copyright?

One interesting and important distinction we are trying to make is the difference between owning a sound file, and owning the rights to the voice print within that sounds file. Even if a sound file is in the public domain (for example in the case of LibriVox, which is a public domain audiobook platform which many AI companies have used to train their foundational models), it doesn’t mean the voice actor has agreed to give up their voice print. Voice print is considered sensitive and protected biometric data in many countries, but is not federally protected in the United States. We feel any time a synthetic version of a human being is created, that human being should give active, explicit consent in order for it to be legal to do so. If you want to use my voice, it should be my choice.

What advice would you give aspiring creators just starting out and unsure of how to protect their work?

For voice actors, the easiest thing to do is read your contracts. Be sure there is nothing in the contract that gives your end client the rights to your voice print. In addition to that, voice actors can add the NAVA AI/Synthetic Voice Contract Rider to every contract they sign to help ensure their end client won’t use their voice to make and train AI.

What are some current debates or issues surrounding copyright law that your organization is paying attention to, and what is your stance on them?

NAVA is meeting with lawmakers at the federal and state level to help shape legislation, and there are a few bills we are in full support of. The NO FAKES Act in the Senate would establish a federal right of publicity. And the NO AI Frauds Act in the House has a similar mission, and specifically references “voice” as a protected category and a property right. 

What are some common misconceptions that creators have about copyright, and how does your organization address them?

Many voice actors assume they own the rights to their voice, image, name, and likeness, and unfortunately at this moment in history, they do not. There are some right of publicity protections in certain states, but we all need to fight for federal protection. Especially for those of us who earn a living from licensing our voice, image, name, and likeness. 

If you aren’t already a member of the Copyright Alliance, you can join today by completing our Individual Creator Members membership form! Members gain access to monthly newsletters, educational webinars, and so much more — all for free!

get blog updates