Senate Introduces Bi-Partisan Bill to Combat the Rise of Nonconsensual Pornogrphaic Deepfakes

By AJ Cummins

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On January 30th, Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024 (DEFIANCE Act).[1] The legislation aims to hold responsible parties accountable for the creation and distribution of nonconsensual pornographic “deepfake” videos and imagery.[2] It would allow for victims to pursue the matter on the civil level, providing opportunities to collect damages for the nonconsensual materials.[3]

The proliferation of such materials combined with the exploitation and harassment components typically aimed at women prompted law makers to approach the issue head-on.[4] Durbin noted that public figures, celebrities, and politicians were notably at a higher risk of being victimized, referencing Taylor Swift in particular.[5] In Swift’s situation, sexually explicit imagery generated by artificial intelligence rapidly moved through social medial platforms such as X.[6] While the DEFIANCE Act was introduced around a week after the controversy on X regarding the fake explicit imagery of Taylor Swift, Hawley noted that: “Nobody, neither celebrities nor ordinary Americans, should ever have to find themselves features in AI pornography.”[7]

The DEFIANCE Act targets AI-generated imagery, but is not solely limited to AI for creation of the material.[8] The Act uses the term “digital forgery,” which is defined as: “visual depiction created through the use of software, machine learning, artificial intelligence, or any other computer-generated or technological means to falsely appear to be authentic.”[9] This includes real pictures and videos that have been modified to such a degree that they meet the sexually explicit standard that this legislation seeks to tackle.[10]

With the ever-increasing accessibility and understanding of the technology used to create such imagery, the volume of the nonconsensual explicit materials increases rapidly.[11] The DEFIANCE Act referenced a 2019 study which found that 96 percent of deepfake videos were of the nonconsensual pornographic variety.[12]

The harm victims suffer from these fictitious materials cannot be understated. The Act notes that “victims have lost their jobs, and may suffer ongoing depression or anxiety.”[13] With the new legislation, it would allow victims that were depicted through their likeness in the nude, explicit conduct, or sexual scenarios to pursue a remedy for such harm.[14] Hawley expanded on this statement, saying: “Innocent people have a right to defend their reputation and hold perpetuators accountable in court. This bill will make that a reality.”[15]

Currently, the bill contains provisions for a 10-year statute of limitations that is predicated upon the victim finding out about the material, or when they turn 18, whichever occurs later.[16] While possessing other provisions, this specifically sticks out due to the length being double the default, and minors having a delay on the statue running.[17] As the DEFIANCE Act is intentionally broad, the long haul to being passed is to be certain. Though, if passed it would create a federal civil remedy that would be monumental in combatting the abundance of sexually explicit non


[2] Id.

[3] Id.






[9] Id.



[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.



[17] Id.

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