FakeCelebrity Twitterers And Bloggers May Face Jail In California

from the that'll-go-over-well dept

We've already noted how California law makes it a crime to "personate" someone by pretending to be them, but with the new year, apparently such laws have been strengthened even more in California, with potential fines and jail time for those who:
"knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person"
While it may be questionable as to whether or not someone setting up a fake Twitter or blog account actually qualifies as having the intention of "harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person," you can pretty much guarantee that some celebrity thus impersonated will test the law on this, and make arguments as to how such impersonators really harmed, intimidated or defrauded. Hopefully the courts are quick to make sure that, if this law is even considered legal, that it's limited in ways to avoid coming down on people just setting up fun joke accounts.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    Paging Ms. Streisand, Ms. Barbra Streisand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Zacqary Adam Green (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    I'd imagine that something that clearly acknowledges that it's a fake, e.g. Dan Lyons' Fake Steve Jobs, wouldn't be illegal under this law.

    That doesn't mean people won't have years of their lives stolen being prosecuted for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Well what anybody expect from a state that elected Arnold to office.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    I just learned that personate and impersonate mean the same thing. It is however odd in quotes when you are the only one used the term.

     

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  5.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 3:54pm

    ahhh found it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    scarr (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Re:

    That isn't Jobs? I just assumed he changed his first name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Kayne West, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    THIS IS SUM BULLSHIIIIIIIIT!!!

     

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  8.  
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    sam, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    put the word FAKE before the persons name and BAM! BULLETPROOF!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

    Law is clearly unconstitutional.../ easily violates the first amendment... CA wasting more money

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    abc gum, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

    It's good to know that our celebrities are well cared for, for it is one thing still manufactured here in the good 'ol us of a. Although I imagine that too will soon be outsourced, I doubt it will make much difference.

     

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  11.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

    Re:

    In a perfect world., that would be the case.... however, we are living in an imperfect world, mostly made that way by the Repukian and conservacreeps drones who don't think that well or rationally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 6th, 2011 @ 9:44pm

    I'm Mike Masnick

    "that it's limited in ways to avoid coming down on people just setting up fun joke accounts. "

    You're all a bunch of jerkwads.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    So I gather that Samuel Clements would be totally in the crapper if he was alive and writing on Twitter et.al because he would do such a good job of personating Mark Twain? ;)

    and not having read the criminal statute (not gunna bother) doesn't harming or intimidating someone already come under criminal laws? Defrauding definitely does. As for harm... DEFINE HARM!!!!!

    So these laws were probably already on the books anyway.. they just want one for "famous" people with lots of money who can Intimidate police into criminal investigations over crimes that are already available.

    So what are they going to do to International people who personates some moronic wannabe celebrity? Jurisdiction is going to e a hard one to tackle if not impossible though it will make for enjoyable reading to laugh about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 1:17am

    Re: I'm Mike Masnick

    Yup, we're First Amendment jerkwads. How about you, Mike?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Pixelation, Jan 7th, 2011 @ 3:11am

    I'm wondering if it would be illegal in California to personate "The Fake Steve Jobs"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Miles (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 3:22am

    Something new learned.

    Well, this certainly explains why we no longer see comedians doing impersonations anymore.

    Rich Little was lucky to have been popular when he was. Otherwise, he'd be standing on a street corner pretending to be poor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 4:32am

    Celebrities real names or their fake names?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Jimr (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 5:11am

    fun and profit

    So fun and profit is a no no. As long as you can still do it for the purposes of fun I see no harm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    AutoTweet (profile), Jan 16th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Jail time for faking twitter representation. Come on people - it isn't right. Sounds like some politicians could also face jail time if they say they serve 'the people' instead of their own self interests.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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