Interesting Legal Finding - Louisiana bans 'Deep Fakes' depicting non-consenting parties, incl. actual minors

A recent legal finding was brought my way while doing research for a report I’m doing on the way AI-generated FSM is handled among the lolisho/3DCG communities. It was alarming at first, but upon reading the text and substance of the law signed by their governor, it seems that it’s misleading.

The story, published by Gizmodo:

Louisiana has become one of the first states to pass legislation explicitly criminalizing the creation of deepfaked child sexual abuse material. The legislation, called SB175, makes it a crime to knowingly create or possess an AI-generated image or video depicting a person under the age of 18 engaged in a sexual act. People convicted of violating the law could face between five and 20 years in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both. Selling or advertising deepfaked sexual material depicting minors, meanwhile, can carry an even greater jail sentence—10 to 30 years or a fine of up to $50,000.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law last week, and it’s slated to go into effect August 1st. The bill comes amid a flurry of new legislation nationwide attempting to rein in a variety of deepfake abuses, but the Pelican State’s law is one of the first of its kind to address a legal gray area looming over image generation by artificial intelligence—images involving minors.

Edwards did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. Louisiana state senator Senator Jeremy Stine, who authored the bill, said in a statement he hoped the legislation would “protect our children from digital predators.”

The new law, which does not specify whether or not the deepfaked image or videos need to contain child sexual abuse material (CSAM) of real people, is one of several efforts to address a legal loophole helping facilitate the spread of deepfaked sexual material online. Federal law already outlaws the creation or possession of CSAM material online, but it’s not clear whether those laws apply to AI-generated creations.

Louisiana’s new law aims to eliminate that ambiguity. New Jersey is currently considering similar legislation which, if passed, would treat AI-generated CSAM the same as traditional sexual abuse material. Some deepfake creators are already facing jail time. In Quebec, for example, a provincial court judge sentenced a man to over three years in prison for using an AI system to create deepfaked child pornography in April.

States rush to pass deepfake laws

Increasingly powerful AI technology, decreasing costs, and lowering barriers to entry have led to a surge in the creation of deepfakes in recent years. Though some deepfakes have recently made headlines for their use in scams and political ads, porn still makes up the vast majority of use cases. A 2019 report by Deeptrace Labs found 96% of the nearly 15,000 deepfake videos it found online were pornographic in nature.

Deepfakes are particularly pernicious when used to depict minors because they can subvert traditional detection methods. Major tech platforms like Facebook and YouTube rely on a database of known CSAM material maintained by The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to scan for and root out violators on their platforms. Deepfaked abuse material, however, can skirt past those scans undetected if it uses non-sexualized images of minors pulled from the web as training material.

At least nine other states including Texas and California have already passed laws attempting to criminalize the spread of non-consensual, AI-generated porn and deepfakes used in political campaigns. On the federal level, New York representative Joseph Morelle recently proposed his own bill that criminalizes non-consensual sharing of intimate deepfake images online.

“As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and permeate our society, it’s critical that we take proactive steps to combat the spread of disinformation and protect individuals from compromising situations online,” Morelle said.


To enact R.S. 14:73.13, relative to computer related crime; to create the crime of unlawful
3 deepfakes; to provide for definitions; to provide penalties; and to provide for related
4 matters.
5 Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
6 Section 1. R.S. 14:73.13 is hereby enacted to read as follows:
7 §73.13. Unlawful deepfakes
8 A. Any person who, with knowledge that the material is a deepfake
9 depicting a minor, knowingly creates or possesses material that depicts a minor
10 engaging in sexual conduct shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for
11 not less than five nor more than twenty years, or a fine of not more than ten
12 thousand dollars, or both. At least five years of the sentence of imprisonment
13 imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of
14 sentence.
15 B.(1) Except as provided in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, any person
16 who, with knowledge that the material is a deepfake that depicts another
17 person, without consent of the person depicted, engaging in sexual conduct,
18 knowingly advertises, distributes, exhibits, exchanges with, promotes, or sells
19 any sexual material shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not
20 less than ten nor more than thirty years, a fine of not more than fifty thousand
21 dollars, or both.
22 (2) Any person who, with knowledge that the material is a deepfake
23 depicting a minor, knowingly advertises, distributes, exhibits, exchanges with,
24 promotes, or sells any sexual material that depicts a minor engaging in sexual
25 conduct shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not less than ten
26 nor more than thirty years, a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars, or
ACT No. 457
Page 1 of 3
Coding: Words which are struck through are deletions from existing law;
words in boldface type and underscored are additions.
1 both. At least ten years of the sentence of imprisonment imposed shall be served
2 without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
3 C. For the purposes of this Section:
4 (1) “Deepfake” means any audio or visual media in an electronic format,
5 including any motion picture film or video recording, that is created, altered,
6 or digitally manipulated in a manner that would falsely appear to a reasonable
7 observer to be an authentic record of the actual speech or conduct of the
8 individual or replace an individual’s likeness with another individual and
9 depicted in the recording. “Deepfake” does not include any material that
10 constitutes a work of political, public interest, or newsworthy value, including
11 commentary, criticism, satire, or parody, or that includes content, context, or
12 a clear disclosure visible throughout the duration of the recording that would
13 cause a reasonable person to understand that the audio or visual media is not
14 a record of a real event.
15 (2) “Distribute” means to publish or make available to another person
16 but does not include any alteration of a recording, including altering the length
17 of the recording, so long as such alteration does not knowingly remove any
18 content, context, or clear disclosure visible throughout the duration of the
19 recording that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the audio or
20 visual media is not a record of a real event.
21 (3) “Minor” means a person under the age of eighteen years.
22 (4) “Sexual conduct” means any of the following, whether actual or
23 simulated: sexual intercourse, oral copulation, anal intercourse, anal oral
24 copulation, masturbation, bestiality, sexual sadism, sexual masochism,
25 penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object in a lewd or lascivious
26 manner, exhibition of the genitals or pubic or rectal area for the purpose of
27 sexual stimulation of the viewer, or excretory functions performed in a lewd or
28 lascivious manner, whether or not any of the conduct is performed alone or
29 between members of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals.
30 An act is simulated when it gives the appearance of being actual sexual conduct.
Page 2 of 3
Coding: Words which are struck through are deletions from existing law;
words in boldface type and underscored are additions.
1 Section 2. If any provision or item of this Act, or the application thereof, is held
2 invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions, items, or applications of the Act
3 which can be given effect without the invalid provision, item, or application and to this end
4 the provisions of this Act are hereby declared severable

I think it’s quite clear, in the wording of this law, that it’s limited to deepfakes and creations involving the use of, or likenesses depicting, those of actual, real minors, not mere fictitious CGI depictions or other creations of non-existent persons, which is actually somewhat relieving.

I wanted to touch up on and share my thoughts on deepfakes. I think we, as a society who cares deeply about the freedom of speech, expression, and sexual liberty, or even one whose legal system is tolerant of virtual child pornography (because no real victim is created), we can all agree that the use of a real minor’s likeness in the creation of such materials is not something that should be tolerated, in the same vein as we were to regard CSAM.

A real child’s likeness, in my view, can be regarded as an extension of their person, which is part of the rationale which prohibits the criminalization of CSAM, and intruding upon that sphere of personhood can and does cause a great deal of agony and suffering to them, from the use of it in the extortion/grooming process, to other factors. The argument used to normally rebut claims of ‘normalization’ and ‘grooming’ with regard to VCP/FSM works here because the material involved is of an actual minor.

The talking point that the misuse of a lolicon manga or 3DCG image of a fictional character should warrant criminalization was never convincing because the mere fact that something may be misused is not sufficient enough to ban it is not being invoked here. Rather, it is the fact that the material itself which depicts this real child’s likeness inherently links it to the act, and the misuse of it in general raises cause for concern.

I think the Gizmodo article title is misleading. Though deepfakes may be a type of AI, presenting the story and titling it as such creates a wholly different claim altogether.

As for whether this law would be constitutional in the limited context of adults, that I do not know. I can see a well-reasoned argument for why people’s likenesses would be off-limits with regard to sexual speech, but I can also see an argument for the opposite, that it’s ‘fair game’.


For clarification’s sake, does this also apply to 2D hand drawn images based on real children (such as child actors)? Even if the art is heavily stylized (aged up/down, overly cartoony, etc.)?

This is where I struggle a bit. Is it OK to use, say, a politician or YouTuber’s likeness for a mocking/scathing political cartoon but not OK to use that same likeness for pornographic purposes (even something as mundane as fake nudes)? And I imagine that deepfaked porn (even obviously fake stuff) can be incredibly traumatizing for the subject no matter wether they’re a minor or adult.

To me, it’s a struggle between the freedom to parody and the right to privacy. Which is more important? Are there exceptions (like adults are fair game but minors are a no-no)? I have long debated with myself the morality of deepfaking.

Hypothetically, how are police going to enforce private AI art generation on localhost with content that is not shared online, but only temporarily stored to a ram disk that is not even distributed? Since I am a Christian, I use a negative prompt to block out illegal and offensive content. I also use a ram disk. AI art images that are generated on my PC are not saved to my PC at all.

This law sounds like a solution in search of a problem to me. Where are all these kids that are finding deepfake nudes of themselves and getting traumatized? There seems to be no requirement to prove that the person being deepfaked even exists. This will be used against any and all realistic artwork that a prosecutor wishes to.


It can, but a distinction can and should be made between a character who was portrayed by a child in a theatrical performance vs. the actress/actor playing the role.

That’s something I’m currently wrestling with myself. I agree that deepfakes can be troubling, even traumatizing to a lot of people, regardless of their age.
They can be and are used to extort and harass people, but at some point I feel like society will need to come together and stop caring about that. My hope is that deepfake-detection technology will become viable for the end user to be able to put a stop to it all.

I think it’s implied very heavily in the wording that it would only be applicable to a person who exists, namely in how they defined what a ‘deepfake’ is and applied it’s applied to both adults and children, sharing identical definitions.

It also defines ‘minor’ as a person. Legal precedent limits the definition of ‘person’ to mean actual, living human being who exists.

Not requiring the law to specify, plainly, that it’s limited to real people might sound like an issue at first, but with how the law itself is worded I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.