In one of the third-world countries I know some new singers who copy exactly the voice of a particular famous singer (native to that country too) in their singing.

There are some stand-up comedians who imitate famous singers' singing for fun, and that's not a problem. But there are many new singers who are always copying those singers' voices in their career.

I don't know any new singers who copy famous singers' voices in first-world countries like the US, etc.

So is there a law in, for example, USA to prevent this from happening? Can a famous singer sue anyone for copying their voice? Is Copyright law applicable to voices too?

1 Answer 1


On the site IP Iustitia a lawyer, Jani Ihalainen, discusses this in detail, at least for the USA.
TLDR: in the US the courts have held that a voice is not copyrightable, but copying a voice can still be forbidden in certain circumstances if the copying can be regarded as impersonation. Bette Midler and Tom Waits both won cases where other people copied their voices in an attempt to mislead the listener.
So trying to sound like famous singer is no problem unless the singer is trying to give the impression that they are the famous singer.

  • 1
    My thought exactly. You can safely consider the same rules apply in Europe, but I have no source for this. I also think that, not only the copied artists are legitimate to sue, but consumers too if they feel they have been misled into purchasing fake music.
    – xhienne
    May 11, 2021 at 21:16

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