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You Can Now be Sued for Distribution of “Deep Fakes”

Posted in Criminal Defense,General FAQ'S on March 25, 2020

Technology is rapidly evolving, and the criminal justice system is often playing catch up when it comes to certain internet-related crimes. One of the biggest growing threats for many people is the creation of “deep fakes.” Deep fakes are altered videos or photos that look incredibly realistic. This has many implications and has been in the news due to its possible political ramifications. However, deep fakes can also be used to create fake sex videos that can severely tarnish a person’s reputation.

Studies have shown that approximately 96% of deep fakes posted online are sexually explicit and that 99% of those deep fakes are of women who work in entertainment. While deep fakes often target celebrities, they can also affect anybody else. These videos can be used as forms of revenge porn. Now, victims of deep fakes may be able to sue those who create or distribute them.

What does the bill propose?

Assembly Bill 602 was introduced by Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto). The purpose of this bill is to crack down on fake sex videos that often target celebrities. Typically, this technology is used to digitally graft the face have a person onto a pornographic film involving other people.

AB 602 would give anybody depicted in digitally altered sex video the right to sue the creator of that video or anyone who intentionally shared it if there was reason to believe that the person depicted did not consent to the creation or release of the video.

“It’s a big relief,” said Assemblyman Berman moments after the bill passed. “Technology is being used in really terrible ways and taking advantage of people in ways that are having real harm. …We need to rein it in.”

The bill would also allow for a person who does consent to a digitally altered pornographic video being created to have three days to rescind their approval of the video.

Assembly Bill 602 passed the California Senate 40-0 and the Assembly 61-0.

California also banned deep fakes close to elections

Those who follow politics may also know that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law meant to cut down on the use of deep fakes to disrupt elections. Assembly Bill 730, also authored by Assemblyman Berman, prohibits individuals or groups from displaying deep fakes within 60 days of an election unless the deep fake also carries a disclosure that it has been manipulated.

This law allows for any candidate who is the target of such deep fakes to file a lawsuit against the producers or distributors of the material. However, many free speech advocates and news organizations opposed the bill, stating that deep fakes are already covered under current defamation laws on the books.

Contact the Law Offices of Graham Donathh

Call Attorney Graham D. Donath

If you or somebody you care about has been accused of creating a deep fake, you should seek legal assistance immediately. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, our qualified and experienced Riverside sex crime lawyers are ready to investigate every aspect of your case. We will ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are upheld. This includes your First Amendment right to free speech. When you need a California deep fake defense attorney, you can contact us for a consultation on your case by clicking here or by calling as soon as possible.