Q: if someone were to make deepfake of both video and audio version of me, would that count as impersonation?

if somebody, were to make deepfake videos, and deepfake audio of me, with the intent of malicious intent of harming my reputation, would that count as impersonation?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: It might be many things, depending on the facts. First, DC and Virginia are "one-party" audio recording jurisdictions, where only one person (the recorder) needs to consent to it, unlike in Maryland where it is illegal to make an audio recording of someone else without their actual knowledge and consent to being recorded. Video in a public space without audio is not so restricted, but depending on the facts, surreptitious video recording could qualify as a form of invasion of privacy, harassment and/or stalking. Creating deepfake photos and videos or any form of defamatory, humiliating or derogatory materials out of the your voice or likeness, may qualify as libel, slander, defamation of character, harassment or stalking, and in particular if of a sexual or pornographic nature, may qualify as criminal offenses in addition to civil offenses depending on more details and facts. Any video surveillance in an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy would also generally qualify as either a crime or civil offense. Applying revenge port criminal statutes to deepfakes has proven problematic on First Amendment grounds because the language of such statutes, even when written to address such materials, are often too broad and would prohibit even benign or artisitic non-sexual deepfakes, so to date most revenge porn statutes only apply to actual photos and video of the person depicted in them. There may be copyright and identity theft, or usurpation of commercial or professional likeness, actions that apply in some instances relating to use of your image or likeness. If someone is publishing images containing your likeness without your consent, you can have a lawyer send a "take-down" letter under the DMCA to the offending website, send a cease and desist letter to the person posting the materials, file for a peace order or for protection from domestic violence order based on harassment, sue for an injunction, sue for civil damages on one of the grounds listed above, or depending on the content, have a lawyer or police review it for whether it meets the definition of a crime and bring criminal charges. Civil lawsuits can be quite expensive, and damages depend on many factors and may be both hard to prove and/or hard to collect if successful.

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