The Texas offense of True Source of Communication gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you use certain deceptive communications with the intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election.
TRUE SOURCE OF COMMUNICATION ATTORNEY FAQs
This law had not been changed since 1987, but when machine learning came into the mainstream, the Texas legislature decided to update this one to help curb the use of deepfake images and videos in political operations.
Have you been charged with True Source of Communication? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with criminal defense attorneys Paul Saputo and Nicholas Toufexis today.
This is the Texas Elections Code offense pertaining to deepfakes, and one of only two deepfake video laws in Texas as of 2023. The other offense dealing with deep fake videos is Unlawful Production Or Distribution Of Certain Sexually Explicit Videos. Learn more about the True Source of Communication offense below.
The current Texas law defines the offense of True Source of Communication in three subsections of Election Code Section §255.004, subsections (a), (b), and (d) as follows (subsection (c) classifies the offense as a Class A misdemeanor):
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election, the person enters into a contract or other agreement to print, publish, or broadcast political advertising that purports to emanate from a source other than its true source.
(b) A person commits an offense if, with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election, the person knowingly represents in a campaign communication that the communication emanates from a source other than its true source.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person, with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election:
(1) creates a deep fake video; and
(2) causes the deep fake video to be published or distributed within 30 days of an election.
You can be charged with a violation of True Source of Communication if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 255.004 as described in the section above have been met.
What is the punishment for a violation of the Texas Election Code offense “True Source of Communication”?
True Source Of Communication is punished as a Class A misdemeanor.
Deep fake videos are defined as videos “created with the intent to deceive, that appears to depict a real person performing an action that did not occur in reality.” The statute limits this definition in its applicability to only this particular statute.
^1. Texas Election Code §255.004^2. SB 751, 86th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 1^3. SB 751 86th Texas Legislature (RS), Section 2^4. Texas Election Code §255.004(c)^5. Texas Election Code §255.004(e)