As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to gain popularity, concerns over the rise of deepfakes, convincingly altered images, videos, or audio content created using AI, have prompted Ohio lawmakers to take proactive measures. Representatives Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Adam Mathews (R-Lebanon) recently unveiled House Bill 367 at the Ohio Statehouse, aiming to address potential issues arising from this advanced technology.
Deepfakes, with their ability to impersonate individuals or fabricate events, have raised alarm bells globally. Recognizing the need for protective legislation, Mathews emphasizes the significance of safeguarding people’s names, images, and likenesses (NIL). The proposed bill seeks to extend this protection beyond high-profile personalities, ensuring that every Ohioan is shielded from potential misuse of their personal identity.
Mathews highlights the existing limitations in pursuing legal action related to name, image, or likeness (NIL). Currently, individuals can only take action if their identity is used to endorse a product or perpetrate fraud. The proposed legislation intends to level the playing field, offering comprehensive protection to all Ohio residents, irrespective of their fame or public standing.
“In my day-to-day, I see how important people’s name image and likeness and the copyright there is within it,” Mathews stated. The bill aims to empower individuals to take legal action against those who misuse their NIL for deepfake creations. The proposed fines for the malicious creation of deepfakes could reach up to $15,000, and the court would have the authority to order the removal of such content if deemed harmful.
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“It creates a private right of action for us to go after those that are sharing, producing or creating these types of representations,” Mathews explained. The legislation ensures that Ohioans have the legal means to address instances where their personal identity is exploited through deepfake technology.
While Congress has explored regulating AI technology on a broader scale, no definitive national legislation has been enacted. This leaves the door open for state governments to take the lead in addressing the challenges posed by deepfakes. Ohio’s proposed bill aligns with this proactive approach and joins the ranks of states working towards legislation concerning deepfake labeling and misrepresentation, particularly in the realm of political candidates.
Deepfakes featuring political figures or individuals in sensitive positions can have far-reaching consequences, including market disturbances and the spread of disinformation. Mathews emphasizes the need to protect against these potential harms while ensuring that First Amendment rights remain intact.
“We made sure that these types of carve-outs continue so that all of the First Amendment protections are there,” Mathews assured. The bill carefully navigates the balance between protecting individuals from malicious deepfakes and upholding the constitutional rights of free speech and expression.
The proposed legislation also includes a four-year statute of limitations, allowing individuals a reasonable timeframe to pursue legal action against those who misuse their NIL in deepfakes. As technology evolves, Ohio’s proactive stance seeks to establish a robust legal framework that not only protects individuals from potential harm but also ensures accountability for those who exploit AI for deceptive purposes. The bill signals a commitment to fostering a secure and ethical digital landscape for all Ohio residents.