Deepfake Laws: What’s on the Statute Books?
There are many existing laws which can potentially be applied to problematic deepfakes, including those concerning fraud, privacy, defamation, stalking, and electoral law. But are these legal instruments sufficient to address deepfake risks, or are new laws needed? Given the risk that deepfakes pose, some lawmakers assert that new, specific regulations are needed to curtail the proliferation of the technology.
Here is a list of laws (including proposals for new legislation*) which specifically address deepfakes, last updated October 2019.
Media / Disinformation and Electoral Law
- Title: AB-730 Elections – deceptive audio or visual media (link)
Jurisdiction: California, USA
Status: ✓ APPROVED by Governor on October 03, 2019
Summary: Criminalises the distribution of audio or video that gives a false, damaging impression of a politician’s words or actions within 60 days of an election, but includes some exceptions.
- Title: SB751 – Relating to the creation of a criminal offense for fabricating a deceptive video with intent to influence the outcome of an election (link)
Jurisdiction: Texas, USA
Status: ✓ APPROVED by State Senate on 1 September, 2019
Summary: Creates a misdemeanour for creating deepfake videos “with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election” if published and distributed within 30 days of an election.
- Title: HR 3230 – Defending Each and Every Person from False Appearances by Keeping Exploitation Subject to Accountability (“DEEPFAKES Accountability”) Act of 2019* (link)
Jurisdiction: USA (Federal)
Status: PROPOSED in Congress, referred to subcommittee for review.
Summary: To combat the spread of disinformation through restrictions on deep-fake video alteration technology, and (amongst other things) establish a right on the part of victims of synthetic media to sue the creators and/or otherwise “vindicate their reputations” in court.
Sexual Content and Privacy Law
- Title: House Bill 2678 – A BILL to amend and reenact § 18.2-386.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another; falsely created videographic or still image (link)
Jurisdiction: Virginia, USA
Status: ✓ APPROVED by General Assembly of Virginia July, 2019
Summary: Update to the existing revenge porn laws, making it a misdemeanour to create deepfake photos or videos of someone without their consent.
- Title: A08155 – AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the right of privacy and the right of publicity* (link)
Jurisdiction: New York, USA
Status: PENDING in the State Senate
Summary: Establishes the right of privacy and the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals; the registration with the department of state of such rights of a deceased individual; and that the use of a digital replica for purposes of trade within an expressive work shall be a violation.
- Title: Taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent* (link)
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Status: PENDING in consultation phase
Summary: The Law Commission is now conducting a review of the existing criminal law including: section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (“revenge pornography”); voyeurism offences under section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019; exposure under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and the common law offence of outraging public decency.
Featured photo © h heyerlein