NYSBA Opposes New York “Deep Fakes” Bill

For several years bills have been introduced in the New York Legislature that would impose liability for transmitting “deep fake” images.  Deep Fake images are digitized versions of a person, or part of a person, that are published without their consent.  Previous legislation made it illegal to publicize a deep fake image in the context of sexually explicit, pornographic scenes.  We were not terribly concerned as stations would never broadcast such material because of the FCC’s indecency regulations.  Thus, it did not matter whether the image was “real” or “digital.”

This year’s version of the bills S6829A & A10217A also apply to “graphic violence.”  Unfortunately, the legislation does not define “graphic violence.”  This creates the possibility that a station could be liable for broadcasting a movie such as “Saving Private Ryan,” where a digital “deep fake” image is used.  Stations simply do not know the level of violence that will trigger liability under the statute.  Moreover, stations are not in a position to edit all content to see if a digital “deep fake” image has been used.

Every day stations operate consistent with the public interest.  As drafted, this legislation could create a trap for local stations.  We are watching this legislation closely.

To see our Memo in Opposition, click HERE.


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