Bruce Willis may not be in his action mode lately, but the ‘Die Hard’ star kicked off a heated discussion on the legality and morality of using a Deepfake avatar on the internet.
It all started with media reports that claimed Willis sold the rights to his digital likeness to a Deepfake company called Deepcake.
“Bruce Willis has become the first Hollywood star to sell his rights to allow a ‘digital twin’ of himself to be created for use on screen,” the Telegraph reported.
In simpler words, Willis supposedly allowed the use of his ‘digital twin’ to appear in future films and ads.
But soon the actor’s team refuted the widely reported news. Representatives of Willis shared a statement clearly saying that “Willis has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake Company.”
Deepcake Company also came forward and dismissed the media reports. The company created Willis’ digital twin for ad campaigns last year. Any future use of the likeness would be up to Willis, said the company to The Hollywood Reporter.
Deepcake is an Artificial Intelligence company specializing in Deepfake. They create digital twins of celebrities.
Deepcake used a Deepfake version of Willis in an advertisement for a Russian telecom company in 2021. But they have not bought the rights for Willis’ face for future Deepfake use.
What is Deepfake?
Deepfake has made quite a stir recently. Due to its advanced mechanism, many experts fear its misuse in the future.
Deepfake is a technique using artificial intelligence to make false sounds or images of persons that appear real. It is an advanced machine learning algorithm that uses Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN).
Like any technology, Deepfakes have beneficial as well as harmful usage. In the entertainment industry, Deepfake technology proved to be very useful to created digital versions of Carrie Fisher in the Star Wars franchise after her death
It has been used in the health sector to detect tumors.
Threat to Democracy
It all started with funny clips and memes. Soon it evolved to produce hyperreal videos and was used to spread misinformation. With the advancement in technology, it became harder to spot a Deepfake video.
Some experts even warned that Deepfake poses a growing threat to democracy. Videos can be faked to make people say things they never actually said. This poses dangers for democracy.
“Deepfakes will make for even more complicated arguments about what is fake news and what is real. And if seeing is no longer believing the very real question is could Deepfakes weaken democracy?” argues The Economist.
Deepfake in India
Although it is yet to have wide use, Deepfakes have turned up in recent elections in India. During the Delhi Assembly polls in 2020, BJP used Deepfake videos in the election campaign, a first of its kind.
According to a report by Vice, the BJP’s Delhi unit used two videos of Manoj Tiwari to show him speaking in Haryanvi and English. They were an alteration of a video made in Hindi, in which Tiwari spoke about a completely different issue from what is seen in the other two videos.
BJP Spokesperson, although, denied the use of these videos by the party and claimed, “In fact Delhi BJP is the victim of this technology.”
After Manoj Tiwari’s Deepfake video, Indian legal experts said the video highlights the gaps in the Election Commission’s current mechanisms to deal with social media content if it falls afoul of laws, reports Hindustan Times.
Legality in India
In the USA, the Deepfakes Accountability Act (passed in 2019), mandated deepfakes to be watermarked for the purpose of identification.
However, there is no explicit law banning Deepfakes in India, writes Independent Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science. However, various other laws can be combined to deal with it.
Sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act 2000 have a provision for punishment for publishing sexually explicit material in electronic form. Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 punishes defamation, but these provisions are insufficient to tackle various forms in which Deepfakes exist.
The right to privacy is a fundamental right in India. Also, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2021 (“Bill”) protects the personal data of individuals. Once this bill is passed, it is supposed to prohibit the usage and circulation of Deepfake videos, reports Outlook.
Title:Houston, We Have A Deepfake Problem! Bruce Willis Rumour That Needs To Die Hard
By: Mayur Deokar