Let's say Mallory makes a video where he looks, sounds, and acts like someone (e.g. a celebrity, the president of the United States) using makeup and voice acting. In the video, he might be doing something that can harm the reputation of the celebrity/president but never claims to be that person, maybe even saying he's not that person but while sounding like a joke. He then uploads the video to the internet, making no solid claim or disclaimer about being that person in the video, title, description or anywhere.

Then Rando, a random internet dweller, sees the video, and re-uploads/shares it with a title/description saying the person in the video is the celebrity/president.

Then Walnut Street, a news outlet, sees either of the video (with or without the claims) and reports it (with a lack of validation) as "Celebrity A does X".

In this chain of event, would any of the 3 people/entities face legal trouble for impersonation and harming someone's reputation?

  • 2
    The answer is very jurisdiction-specific. Where is Mallory?
    – bdb484
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 17:24
  • Since it's on the internet, I was thinking of something applied internationally. If necessary, assume EU/US laws. Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 6:50
  • Even assuming a single US jurisdiction (e.g. California), this is a fact-intensive multi-pronged question. To answer it fully would require an analysis of all torts that someone could have committed here, law-school "issue spotter" style. Possible subjects of analysis include libel, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as statutory law in various jurisdictions (e.g. Sections 528.5 and 529 of the California Penal Code).
    – Kevin Li
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 17:52


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