“Let’s say [a filmmaker] wanted to do a biographic movie about Heath Ledger, and rather than have an actor play Heath Ledger, they used a digital version,” says Bennett. “We think that would be perfectly fine. Now contrast that example with a [re-created] Heath Ledger becoming the next Captain Jack Sparrow in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. That wouldn’t be OK. That would threaten actors’ livelihood.”
So it’s not just exploitation. Digital technology also puts jobs at risk.
But, as Bennett acknowledges, if Heath Ledger’s heirs were bequeathed his right of publicity in a will and then licensed it to Disney so a deepfake version of Ledger could play Jack Sparrow, that would be totally fine by law.
In fact, right now, there are only a few A-list actors in Hollywood, and the biggest reason they are not in every film is limitations on their time. But if the technology developments enable them to simply license their name, image and voice and not really spend any time actually on set, wouldn’t that potentially take away jobs? All the roles just might go to Dwayne Johnson and Jennifer Lawrence.
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I find this fascinating stuff.
And, it means that you can’t even believe your eyes anymore.
Like the unreliability of “eyewitness testimony”, even digital evidence will be suspect. What happens to DNA evidence as technology improves?
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