Videos With Fake Faces – What Legal Remedy?

Professor Eric Goldman of UC Santa Clara writes about new technology that allows adept editors to put someone’s face on a video of someone else. That can produce comic results, but it can also be a kind of revenge porn, or just nasty porn, if one puts a well-known face on a body doing pornographic things.

Prof. Goldman says it is hard to conceive of a legal remedy guaranteed to be effective for the person whose face is used. He discusses copyright and defamation and finds them limited.

He does not pay much attention to privacy, since U.S. privacy laws tend to focus on specific bits of personal information rather than give general rights.

However, PIPEDA gives a general right – at least when the personal information is collected, used or disseminated for a commercial purpose. Would Canadian law provide a remedy for this kind of activity? How commercial would a revenge porn site have to be? How likely would a ‘satire’ defence be?

Would one of the statutory privacy torts be helpful, in the provinces that have them? Is Quebec’s privacy law broader than PIPEDA?

What about publicity placing a person in a false light? In the US, that is Restatement of Torts 652E:

One who gives publicity to a matter concerning another that places the other before the public in a false light is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if
(a) the false light in which the other was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and
(b) the actor had knowledge of or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the publicized matter and the false light in which the other would be placed.

What would you advise? Law reform? to do what?

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