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February 06, 2018

Custom AI Porn Videos Now For Sale, Raising New Legal Issues

CYBERSPACE—Sometime late last year, as AVN.com reported, a Reddit forum labeled “deepfakes” appeared, whose sole purpose appeared to be hosting forged porn videos in which the face of a celebrity was digitally inserted into actual porn clips using artificial intelligence technology.  In the few months since, the “deepfakes” phenomenon has spread and even as some online hosts have taken steps to remove the fake celebrity porn, users have created an onslaught of videos featuring not only such celebrities as Gal Gadot, Daisy Ridley and Emma Watson—but non-celebrities as well. Now, the tech news site Motherboard reports, a new Reddit forum, r/deepfakeservice, allows anyone to request an AI-generated porn video of any person at all (18 years of age or older, of course)—for a price.  Payment is required in Bitcoin, but anyone with a stash of the highly-publicized cryptocurrency can order up a custom-made porn video of any chosen celebrity, or even the girl next door. All it takes is a two-minute “source video” and images of the subject whose face is to be all-too-realistically grafted onto the hardcore porn action. To see a “safe for work” example of deepfake AI technology in action, a short video of movie star Jessica Alba’s face digitally grafted onto the (fully clothed) body of adult performer Melanie Rios can be viewed at this link. (See screen grab above.) The user who created the Jessica Alba fake, which runs all of six seconds, posted that it took him (presumably it was a “him”) about five hours to create the AI-generated clip. The forum has already received a string of requests. One user, bannonscuck, wants to see Ivanka Trump featured in a gang bang scene. Another, felix-a1, wants porn starring singer Ariana Grande “with the white hair like in the focus music video.” Other requests include pop stars Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Selena Gomez. While AI porn videos—which can now be produced by almost anyone without extensive coding skills using the FakeApp software—appear to fall into a legal gray area, now that someone has started attempting to monetize this new form of non-consensual porn, experts say that the law may now find it easier to crack down. "It might be easy to be anonymous on the internet, but it's a lot harder when you want to be paid,” R Street Institute tech policy director Charles Duan told Motherboard. “The videos are probably wrongful under the law whether or not money is exchanged. But what's important is that the commercial exchange creates a focal point for tracing and hopefully stopping this activity.” Legal experts say that unlike “revenge porn,” in which users upload authentic nude images without consent of the individuals pictured, fake AI porn may be difficult to challenge, because it cannot be construed as a privacy violation. “You can’t sue someone for exposing the intimate details of your life when it’s not your life they’re exposing,” wrote Wired magazine in a piece examining the legalities of AI porn fakes.  But copyright issues may offer a stronger case against the fake porn clips—but the legal challenge would need to come not from person whose face was inserted into the porn video, but from the makers of the underlying porn clip. “The makers of the video would have a perfectly legitimate copyright property case against the uploader, and they would be able to take advantage of the [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] to have the website take the vid down,” Duan said. “Not on behalf of the victim but the maker of the video. Which is the weird thing about that whole situation.” On the other hand, a porn video with a famous person's face grafted onto the body of a sex actress may run afoul of some states' "right of publicity" (or in this case, right of non-publicity) laws. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that has advocated for online civil liberties since 1990, says that there may be little or no legal recourse for victims of non-consensual AI porn, who suddenly find themselves the “star” of a hardcore sex video. “I want to separate something that’s probably a dumb legal idea from something that’s just a socially bad thing to do,” said EFF Civil LIbertoes Director David Greene said. “If you’re doing it to harass somebody, it’s certainly a bad idea legally and socially.” Another problem for those non-consenting AI porn stars would simply be that legal remedies or no legal remedies, once a video appears online, it is likely to live forever. “It’s almost impossible to erase a video once it’s been published to the internet,” Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman told the site The Verge. “If you’re looking for the magic wand that can erase that video permanently, it probably doesn’t exist.” On the other hand, Pornhub announced that it was banning the AI videos. “We do not tolerate any nonconsensual content on the site and we remove all said content as soon as we are made aware of it,” the company told Motherboard.

 
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