We can already make simple the laws regarding the common scapegoating or scandalous nature of living, human public figures and/or celebrities.

What exactly do laws state about public figures/celebrities that have no immediate, human likeness associated with them? For example, think the muppets, a famous set of characters which are famous, representative of personalities, but are not real living human beings.

If a muppet were to be subjected to scrutiny, is the muppet responsible? Is the ventriloquist responsible? Who answers to a muppet if a muppet may not be the work or being of one person?

Alas, what are laws that subject famous characters/personalities/etc. which are not immediate, living humans? Some people run super famous Twitter/social media accounts that represent some visage, likeness or purported being, that of which may not actually be subjected to a real, specific human. As an example, think of a social media account of someone like Elmo, The Annoying Orange, or etc.

Many people can run the account and as such their image or likeness can vary to the public.

Who is responsible though? Assuming we already established that a non-human can still be a public figure or celebrity, who is ultimately responsible for the actions of a fictional or semi-fictional person?

Also, what about a smart agent or robot that does machine learning and threatens to kill a major figure, like an official? The programmer didn't do this -- the program "learned" words and made that threat via social media/etc. In short, the program COULD in theory be wholly responsible.

This same analogy can apply to a semi-fictional figure that may not be wholly dictated by the control or means of a human being, or the likeness of one human being either.

By "semi" I mean someone who can partially represent themselves in the form of another likeness/entity they may have made up, but do not fully represent their real personality to such likeness? For example, I could pretend to be "Joe Shaqqa" and use part of my personality to do so, but do not consider myself to be "Joe Shaqqa" and do not associate my real image with this fictional, famous character. Am I fully responsible for "Joe Shaqqa" if I do not consider myself to be Joe Shaqqa, and do not use my complete likeness to represent them, nor only do so myself?

How does the law work with legal issues directed toward fictional or semi-fictional figures?

closed as too broad by user6726, Nij, feetwet Jun 12 '17 at 14:12

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This is both Too Broad and Unclear. – feetwet Jun 12 '17 at 1:04
  • Briefly, the law doesn't deal with fictional characters. It deals with people, some of whom may invent fictional characters. – user6726 Jun 12 '17 at 4:27

Fictional characters are the creation of a person or persons (either natural or legal persons). The 'acts' of the fictional character are the acts of the person who owns/has control of them.

For example, one would not sue a muppet for a defamation, one would sue the production company(s) who published it.

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