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SAG-AFTRA Commends Gavin Newsom for Signing Law Punishing ‘Deep Fake’ Videos

SAG-AFTRA has commended California Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing legislation that institutes penalties for nonconsensual, sexually explicit digital videos, also known as “deep fakes.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 602, targets companies and individuals who create and distribute the videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted. SAG-AFTRA said the legislation was “meaningful recourse” for the victims, many of whom are members of SAG-AFTRA.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Gov. Newsom stood by the victims, most of whom are women, of nonconsensual pornography by signing AB 602 into law. I want to thank the governor; the bill’s authors, Assemblymember Marc Berman and Sen. Connie Leyva; and all the California lawmakers who unanimously voted for this legislation. AB 602 is a victory for all Californians. Deepfake technology can be weaponized against any person. Every person deserves the basic human right to live free from image-based sexual abuse,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris.

Deepfake technology uses artificial intelligence to realistically superimpose individuals into sexually explicit material. SAG-AFTRA said AB 602 is the first law of its kind to provide victims of deepfake pornography civil remedies, including statutory damages and preliminary injunctive relief. AB 602 requires creators to obtain meaningful, upfront consent from people before digitally depicting them in a sex or nude scene.

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SAG-AFTRA also said it will continue to urge lawmakers in Congress to amend Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act so victims are further empowered to fight online sexual harassment.

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