By David O’Hair
First appearing on reddit, a new trend called “deepfakes” has captured the public’s attention with one of the internet’s oldest promises – nude celebrity photos. Intimate celebrity images appearing online is nothing new in and of itself. A 2014 hack exposed hundreds of nude-celebrity images, while Gawker notoriously posted Hulk Hogan’s sex tape.
However, deepfakes present a novel issue in that the images, and often videos, of the celebrities are fake – but the underlying porn is real. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence mixed with facial-mapping software to essentially copy and paste someone’s face into preexisting porn content. The AI-software’s sophistication is such that content created by it, i.e., deepfakes, can be virtually indistinguishable from an authentic porn video featuring a specific celebrity. Celebrities are often the victims of deepfakes, because deepfakes require massive amounts of “raw footage” to import into the pornographic video. Chances are a celebrity has more time collected on video than the average person, but non-public figures can be the victims of deepfakes too. Continue reading
By Jessy Nations
Our legal system was not designed with the internet in mind. The framers of the Constitution never thought that nude photos of themselves or anyone else would be published world-wide without their consent. They never even imagined being photographed. So when a mob of rabid misogynists harassed and threatened Zoe Quinn on social media, it should not be surprising that the legal system couldn’t protect her. If anything, seeking legal remedies for a relentless stream of graphic death and rape threats made matters worse for Ms. Quinn. Our legal system is much less about protection and more about punishment. Ms. Quinn is the target of the #Gamergate movement. This began after her ex-boyfriend used the internet (through platforms like reddit and 4chan) to allege that Ms. Quinn slept with a journalist in exchange for a positive review of her game entitled Depression Quest. Despite the fact that this review was never actually written, the response was swift, violent, and unrelenting. Because a game developer was accused of sleeping with a journalist for a positive review, people all over the world sent Ms. Quinn death threats, rape threats, published her personal information, and harassed her friends and family for two years; and this harassment is still ongoing. Continue reading
By Robin Hammond
How to monetize a meme: Step 1: stumble upon an Internet sensation; Step 2: pursue IP rights immediately and vigilantly.
It is clear who would win in a fight between Grumpy Cat and Technoviking. It is also clear who has won in the realm of Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights. Technoviking is a man who was thrust into internet fame by a viral video on youtube.com. Grumpy Cat is a genetically abnormal cat, which achieved similar notoriety through reddit.com. Both cases illustrate the benefits of prompt IP right designations. Continue reading