The IA-assisted facial exchange technology known as deepfakes has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood, and now the SAG-AFTRA union is working to "fight" by opening new legislative avenues. A spokesman told Deadline that the union "has undertaken a comprehensive review of our collective bargaining options and legislative options to combat each and every use of digital recreation."
Deepfakes gained notoriety last December. As the community expanded rapidly, so did the dissemination of images and videos, often of a pornographic nature, that presented the faces of men and women who did not consent to exchange in bodies that were not theirs. "We are talking to representatives of our members, union allies, and state and federal legislators on this issue at this time and we have legislation pending in New York and Louisiana that would address this directly in certain circumstances," a spokesman told Deadline. "We're also looking at state laws in other jurisdictions, including California, to make sure the protections are in place, and as long as there are not enough protections, we'll work to fix it."
The efforts of SAG-AFTRA are not limited to deepfakes, the spokesperson says, but to any recreation that "defames our members and inhibits their ability to protect their images, voices and actions against misappropriation."
But removing deepfakes from the web has already proven to be an almost impossible task; cut a head, and three more appear in less tasty parts of the web. And although many conventional platforms have taken a tough stance against deepfakes, videos and images are still sneaking around. This week, BuzzFeed reported that despite Pornhub's vote to ban deepfakes from its platform, these fake videos continue to thrive on the platform.
As for the legality of deepfakes, the problem is murky at best. In a previous interview with The Verge, law professor at the University of Santa Clara Law School, Eric Goldman, said that a victim's best recourse is to claim defamation or copyright infringement, but even those avenues are plagued with problems. "[Celebrities are] will have possibly less privacy rights," Goldman said, "and the defamation law will actually adjust and reduce protection due to the fact that they are famous."