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News

Russian court imposes first-ever compensation order in unauthorized Keanu Reeves deepfake use case

Screenshot: Not Face Video Studio YouTube channel

The Commercial Court of Moscow has made a precedent-setting ruling in a case of deepfake technology use, imposing a $5,360 compensation order on Roistat for using a deepfake video of actor Keanu Reeves by Agenda Media Group (AMG) in an event commercial, according to the court case file.

Judge Victoria Krikunova upheld the claim by OOO Reface Technologies against OOO Biznes Analitika (Roistat’s legal entity) and imposed a compensation order “in the amount of 500,000 rubles [~$5,360] for violating the exclusive right to the video recording.”

The video in question was created by AMG and transferred to its partner, Reface Technologies. In it, a man with Keanu Reeves’ face leaves home and then returns several times to check if he turned off the iron. Eventually, he decides to take the iron with him.

Reface Technologies focuses on deepfake videos featuring celebrities (such as Jason Statham, Keanu Reeves, Robert Pattinson) and distributes them on social media.

Alexei Parfun, CEO of AMG and VP of the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia, stated that Roistat had used AMG's video in a commercial that had emerged on Telegram in June 2023. To his initial claim, Roistat responded that “neural network-generated products are not subject to copyright.” However, Parfun pointed out that the video wasn’t generated by a single neural network but involved input from AI and a human engineer and underwent post-production. Therefore, his company went to court.

As the court ruled, the deepfake technology is an additional video editing tool, and not a “method of creation,” which is why the video is not available for public use without consent from the copyright holder.

Reface Technologies focuses on deepfake videos featuring celebrities (such as Jason Statham, Keanu Reeves, Robert Pattinson) and distributes them on social media.

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