‘Deepfakes’ of Celebrities Have Begun Appearing in Ads, With or Without Their Permission

October 25, 2022Media Mention
Wall Street Journal

Litigation Chair & Partner Aaron Moss discussed with Wall Street Journal how celebrity deepfakes are coming to advertising. 


Celebrities have had some success suing advertisers for the unauthorized use of their images under so-called right of publicity laws, said Aaron Moss, chair of the litigation department at law firm Greenberg Glusker. He cited Woody Allen’s $5 million settlement with American Apparel in 2009 over the director’s unapproved appearance on a billboard advertising the risqué clothing brand.

The likelihood that someone of Mr. Musk’s stature would sue a startup for a deepfake video is low, and those companies might decide the risk is well worth the considerable publicity it would generate for them, Mr. Moss said.

“A lot of these companies purposefully get as close to the line as possible in order to almost troll the celebrities they’re targeting,” he said.

But the ease of creating deepfakes means some celebrities could soon be deluged by ads featuring their unauthorized, but very convincing likenesses, Mr. Moss said. It would be “death by a thousand cuts” if celebrities tried to go after every small business or individual creator that used the software, he added.