Bruce Willis has hit the headlines as of late after a deepfake studio used 34,000 images of the actor in order to create a “digital twin” who appeared in an advert for Megafon, a Russian telecommunications operator. It was widely reported that Bruce Willis was the first Hollywood star to sell the rights to his digital image which could then be used in future films or advertisements, allowing Mr. Willis, who is suffering from health issues, an ability to continue to monetise his intellectual property in the absence of being physically present.
A twist in the tale would later emerge that Mr. Willis has in fact denied selling his digital rights (which sadly diminishes the chances of Die Hard 6 hitting our screens anytime soon).
According to Deepcake, an AI-powered content studio that created the digital twin, they were unaware of the exact nature of the bi-lateral agreement between Bruce Willis and Megafon.
This case highlights not only the complexities that lie ahead for intellectual property rights professionals but the power of AI in creating content for film studios and brands alike. So much so that in April of this year, Equity, the UK's performing arts workers union, launched the campaign, Stop AI Stealing The Show, following the concern AI deep fakes could take work away from actors.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.
FTI Consulting, Inc., including its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a consulting firm and is not a certified public accounting firm or a law firm.