MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Nov 2023)
SAG-AFTRA’s Tentative AI Protections
By Brian Jones, J.D. Candidate, Class of 2026, University of Chicago
Shortly after their previous three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for TV/theatrical contracts expired on July 12, 2023, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike over wage increases, streaming-based compensation, artificial intelligence (AI) protections, and other issues. On November 10, 2023, the SAG-AFTRA National Board approved a tentative deal reached with the AMPTP, effectively ending the strike. The summary of the tentative agreement has been sent to union members for ratification, with votes due by December 5. The full memorandum of agreement is expected to be released within the next few weeks.
Notably, the agreement distinguished four different types of digital performers created with AI. Each type has varying terms governing the required compensation for its creation, as well as its initial and potentially ongoing use. They fit into two broad categories: digital replicas and synthetic performers. Digital replicas are based on the voice and/or likeness of human performers (and require their consent), whereas a synthetic performer is not based on any human performer.