Deepfakes of dead people so realistic families ‘should own the copyright’

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Deepfakes are becoming so realistic that some families should own the copyright to them, it has been claimed.

The technology to make deepfakes – fabricated material that depict people in content – is becoming increasingly realistic.

A recent deepfake of Hollywood star "Tom Cruise" in a deepfake sparked a bombshell after looking very close to real.

Now it has been claimed they are on their way to becoming so good, that families of the dead should own the copyright of their loved ones in deepfakes.

Lilian Edwards, a professor of law and expert in the technology, says the law hasn't been fully established yet.

She believes many will claim they should own the rights, while some may not.

She told BBC: "For example, if a dead person is used, such as (the actor) Steve McQueen or (the rapper) Tupac, there is an ongoing debate about whether their family should own the rights (and make an income from it).

"Currently this differs from country to country."

In the video of "Cruise", the man purporting to be him performs a magic trick to make a coin disappear.

"I will show you some magic," he says. "It's the real thing."

He then gives away a laugh and continues: "I mean, uh, it's all real."

One said: "These deepfakes are getting worryingly good. How can we trust what we see in TV and camera?"

Another added: "This is fascinating and scary at the same time."

An expert previously told Daily Star that deepfakes are so realistic it could threaten the judicial system.

Harvard graduate Shamir Allibhai told Daily Star Online that “criminals will be set free” if fake videos are thrust into judicial proceedings.

The CEO of Amber, a video verification site, believes deepfake evidence will raise reasonable doubt.

Mr Allibhai told us: “Deepfakes are getting really good, really fast.

“I am worried about both aural/visual evidence being manipulated and also just the fact that when believable fake videos exist, they will delegitimise genuine evidence and defendants will raise reasonable doubt.

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“When the former happens, innocent people will go to jail and when the latter happens, criminals will be set free.

“Due process will be compromised and a core foundation of democracy is undermined.

“Judges will drop cases, not necessarily because they believe jurors will be unable to tell the difference: they themselves, and most humans for that matter, will be unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction soon.

“And when there is no unequivocal way to prove truth, people regress to tribalistic roots and see what they want to see: that is, to use coloured lens that affirm existing biases, which will include dismissing video that don’t conform.

“There should be no subjectivity when it comes to the veracity of video evidence.”

  • Family
  • Technology

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