The Authors' Take - Regulating Deep Fakes: Legal and Ethical Considerations

 Regulating Deep Fakes: Legal and Ethical Considerations

Deep fakes have become a buzzword discussed widely among legal and technology experts. The term ‘deep fakes’ refers to face-swapping technologies that enable a quick creation of fake images or videos which appear incredibly realistic.
This paper firstly explains the technology behind the deep fakes and addresses ethical and regulatory concerns related to deep fakes. For more comprehensive analyses, the use of deep fakes is analysed in four different contexts: (i) in pornography, (ii) in political campaigns, (iii) for commercial use, and (iv) for creative purposes. In each of these four categories real-world examples, such as Nicolas Cage’s “appearance” in famous movies, are provided. Also, the main advantages, major concerns, and unintended consequences of the use of deep fakes are highlighted.  
Since deep fakes are primarily used for malicious and socially detrimental purposes (e.g., revenge porn), it is suggested by the authors that deep fakes - like many other new technologies in the past - are initially met with fear. On the other hand, deep fakes could also have socially beneficial outcomes by reducing transaction costs in creating derivative content as well as by facilitating new forms of creativity. As it is likely that deep fakes will be more widely adopted in future, various social and legal challenges which the regulators and the society will have to face are addressed by the authors. Finally, the potential role of online content dissemination platforms and governments in addressing regulation of deep fakes is teased out.
The authors conclude by making three suggestions on how to reduce the risks posed by deep fakes - one from a technology point of view (i. e., the use of AI) and two from a regulatory angle.

[This is an Authors' Take post, which provides readers with an insight into current IP scholarship, featuring preliminary comments and thoughts from authors of articles accepted for publication in forthcoming issues of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (OUP). The full text of this contribution, which will be included in our special Image Rights Issue, will be made available on Advance Access soon]