SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents Hollywood artists, has reportedly responded to the studios’ “last, best and final” offer to end it hit, and rejected clauses that would allow them to reuse AI-created likenesses of high-demand and deceased artists without consent. The union is reportedly planning a counteroffer that removes current AI-related language. “This loophole for the exploitation of artists must not exist,” says a source close to the union told The Hollywood Reporter On Monday. “We couldn’t allow this language to endure.”
THR reports that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has proposed “AI scans” for Schedule F performers (union members who earn more than $32,000 per TV episode or $60,000 per film) ensure. The studios’ proposed deal would require them to pay once to scan the likenesses of List F cast members, without paying for their use or reuse – essentially giving them perpetual rights to their likenesses once they’ve been used paid in advance.
An even more striking detail is that the way the proposal was written appears to advocate unrestricted use of AI-created likenesses of deceased artists without proper permission. “The language currently included in the AMPTP proposal would allow studios and streamers to secure the right to use scans of deceased artists without the consent of their estate or SAG-AFTRA,” he writes THR. SAG-AFTRA reportedly wants to impose a consent requirement and compensation every time a studio or streamer reuses artists’ AI scans. However, after this part of the dispute became public, diversity reported that the union had reached “a common understanding” with AMPTP on the “delicate issues” such as AI consent following the death of an actor.
“We think it not only makes sense, but is absolutely critical to the sustainability of the performance industry,” a source said THR before news of the changed offer became known. “[The Schedule F AI language in the AMPTP’s proposal] It is their responsibility to have you killed because they need your consent when you are alive, but not when you are dead.”
SAG-AFTRA reportedly briefed union members on Monday about the negotiations and assured them they would not agree to a lousy collective bargaining agreement. “Please know that every member of our TV/Cinema Bargaining Committee is committed to getting the right deal and ending this strike responsibly,” the union wrote to its members. “There are several key points on which we do not yet have agreement, including AI. We will keep you updated as events progress.”
Update, August 24, 2023, 5:22 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to note a new one diversity Report claiming the two sides have since resolved their differences over the AI rights of deceased actors.