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Young v. NeoCortext

Kyland Young, a former contestant of a reality television show, brought right of publicity claims in a proposed class action against NeoCortext Inc., a Ukrainian company that made the AI-based face swapping app, Reface. The complaint alleged that the app exploited Young’s image and likeness without consent or compensation, violating the right of publicity under California Civil Code § 3344.

In September 2023, U.S. District Judge Wesley L. Hsu of Central District of California denied NeoCortext’s motion to dismiss and motion to strike, writing that the right of publicity claims were not preempted by the federal Copyright Act. Under California law, significant transformative use would warrant an affirmative defense to a right of publicity claim under the First Amendment, but Judge Hsu found that NeoCortext had failed to show that Reface app’s use of Young’s face was a transformative use as a matter of law.

LAST UPDATED 10/17/2023