SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah


Advances in computer technologies have led to the development of new tools to edit and disseminate digital media. Some of these new tools allow users to fabricate digital media by editing video and audio recordings of individuals to make it appear as if they are saying or doing things they have not actually said or done. The rise of these new technologies will lead to litigation by individuals who are harmed by the misuse of fabricated digital media. These individuals will be able to rely on several common law torts—such as defamation, misappropriation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress—to recover against the creators of fabricated media. However, the actual malice standard, applicable to public persons, will make it difficult for some plaintiffs to recover against non-creator publishers of such fabricated media. To limit the dissemination of fabricated digital media content, by publishers, courts should adopt the “responsible publisher” standard when analyzing cases by public persons against publishers.