Deepfakes are becoming scary. Original deepfakes were of such poor quality that anyone could pick them out. No longer. New “artificial intelligence” software can create fakes that are so realistic, we may soon have to question what is real and false online. Being the target of deepfakes is a serious bummer. So, can you attack deepfakes with copyright law? Let’s take a look.
What Are Deepfakes?
I mean it when I say deepfakes are becoming a problem. The software advances in this niche are stunning. In some cases, you can modify the image of a person seamlessly. In others, just changing the voice can lead to a host of issues. Take a look at these deepfake examples.
Deepfakes and Copyright Law
How can a person legally attack deepfakes? The answer is more complicated than you might imagine, primarily because we are just dealing with this issue for the first time in the courts. Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities of using copyright law and even the DMCA to go after these fakes.
A Credibility Concern
Deepfakes represent a foundational threat to the future of the Internet from a credibility point of view. The old joke is, “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.” However, we are quickly approaching a day when you will not be able to assess the credibility of online content. Such a day carries massive implications for us as a society.
Recently, a scandal arose over a video in which a politician giving a speech appeared to be drunk. She wasn’t. The person creating the video had manipulated the recording to create the impression. The politician was Nancy Pelosi. You might love or hate Pelosi, but neither view matters because this video manipulation could happen with any politician on either side of the political spectrum.
Here’s the video. The video could just as easily be of Trump or another politician.
Imagine an election for President. On November 1st, a couple of days before the vote, a video pops up on YouTube of one of the candidates doing something many voters would find objectionable. Could the video swing the election? Yes. That is a problem.
Can you use copyright law or the DMCA to attack deepfakes? It seems unlikely, but one imagines we will see legislation soon addressing deepfakes. The credibility of content on the web is at issue without it.