New Law to Penalize Fake Explicit Content Production and Dissemination in Czech Republic

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to a dangerous trend: the creation of explicit content featuring individuals who did not consent to their likeness being used. This phenomenon, known as “deepfake,” can potentially ruin reputations and cause psychological harm. Czech lawmakers are addressing this issue with a proposed amendment to their criminal code, which is set to change the legal landscape.

When individuals distribute deepfakes online, they can cause significant damage to the victim’s reputation and mental health. The current law, however, falls short in addressing this issue. Should lawmakers accept the proposed amendment, it will criminalize the production and distribution of such forgeries in the Czech Republic starting in July of next year.

According to the new law, anyone who creates or disseminates explicit content that depicts or otherwise uses a person who did not consent to their likeness being used will face imprisonment for up to two years, a ban on certain activities, or forfeiture of property. If such material is made public, for instance, on the internet, the person responsible could face imprisonment for six months to three years. If the act is committed as part of an organized group in multiple states or for large-scale personal gain, the perpetrator could face one to five years of imprisonment.

Deepfakes, created using AI, have already caused harm on a global scale. This year alone, the face of American singer Taylor Swift was misused, and a fake explicit video featuring Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was created.

Currently, cases of fake explicit photos and videos are popping up in the Czech Republic, but victims often hear the same response when they report to the police: no crime has been committed. The existing criminal code does recognize the crime of distributing explicit content, but it only applies to materials involving human violence, intercourse with animals, or explicit content featuring children.

In 2021, the European Parliament concluded that creating ‘deepfakes’ is becoming easier and more accessible to laypersons. In this ever-evolving digital age, it is essential for laws to keep pace with technological advancements. The proposed amendment in the Czech Republic serves as a beacon for other countries to follow suit in criminalizing deepfake pornography.