Beijing Court Fines Face-Swap App for Infringement After Models Sue It

Deepfake person

A court in Beijing, China has fined an AI face-swap app for infringement after two models sued the platform over its unauthorized use of their photos.

The two women, known only as Liao and Wu, are both popular models who make short online videos about traditional Chinese aesthetics. They both sued an unnamed AI face-swap app, which is operated by a Beijing technology company, for infringing on the copyright of their portraits.

According to Chinese news outlets, Liao and Wu both took legal action early last year after discovering their images were being used without permission by the same app as face-swapping templates that users could pay for.

The models claimed the face-swap app had used short videos published by them to create a face-swapping template and uploaded it to the app without their consent. The face-swap app then provided the models’ images to other users for a fee.

The two models sued the face-swap app, alleging that it had infringed on their copyright and personal data and demanding compensation.

During the trial on Thursday, the plaintiffs presented photos and videos of themselves that have been widely circulated online. In the videos, they are dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, sport ancient hairstyles, and wear classical makeup.

The plaintiffs also provided templates on the face-swap app with the same clothing and hairstyles but with the models’ faces erased by AI deepfake technology so that users could replace them with their faces.

According to the China News Service, the Beijing Internet Court has now fined the face-swap app 3,500 yuan ($482) for infringing upon the women’s personal information with AI deepfake technology. 2,500 yuan ($345) was intended to cover the financial losses of the two models while the remaining 1,000 yuan ($137) was for their mental anguish.

The face-swap app was also ordered to cease the infringement and apologize to the pair.

Sun Mingxi, a judge from the court, said it was Beijing’s first judgment on an infringement involving AI face-swapping software.

“I hope the verdict will help regulate the application of the emerging technology and also promote the healthy development of the digital economy,” Judge Mingxi says in the ruling.

Earlier this year, the Beijing Internet Court awarded an AI image copyright status after the person who made the picture sued a blogger for using it without permission.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.