SAG-AFTRA Commends Gov. Andrew Cuomo for Banning ‘Deep Fake’ Videos

SAG-AFTRA has commended New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature for signing a law protecting members from “deep fake” sexually explicit material and prohibiting the exploitation of one’s name, image and voice after they pass away.

The performers union said Monday that the law protects the images and voices of SAG-AFTRA members and their families, in life and now postmortem, from unwanted and unauthorized commercial exploitation. It also strictly prohibits the publication and dissemination of digitally created, non-consensual, sexually explicit material.

“We are thrilled that Gov. Cuomo signed this important and hard-fought bill that protects not only our members, but society as a whole,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “I want to thank Executive Vice President and New York Local President Rebecca Damon and the many members who engaged with us in achieving this crucial legislation.”

“This bill is an important part of our ongoing efforts to safeguard our members,” Damon said.

A year ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 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 these videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted. SAG-AFTRA said at the time that the California legislation was “meaningful recourse” for the victims, many of whom are members of SAG-AFTRA.

“Deep fake” technology uses artificial intelligence to realistically superimpose individuals into material that can often be sexually explicit. SAG-AFTRA said AB 602 was the first law of its kind to provide victims of “deep fake” 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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