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### Hollywood Actor’s Strike Ends with a Deal Impacting AI and Streaming Trends

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists reached a tentative agr…

The agreement between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been finalized after a record 118-day standoff, marking the longest such dispute in Hollywood history. While the specific terms of the deal were not disclosed on Wednesday evening, the resolution follows a prolonged conflict centered around the utilization of artificial intelligence to replicate celebrities’ likenesses and the associated compensation for content featured on streaming platforms.

A commission representing SAG approved the agreement on Wednesday, signifying a crucial step forward for the hundreds of film and television stars under its representation. Throughout the dispute, demonstrations outside major entertainment offices such as Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros. have been a prominent feature. The identification and related processes are scheduled to conclude by Thursday night, with the preliminary agreement set to undergo review by the union’s federal board for final approval on Friday.

This development marks a pivotal moment for the $130 billion Hollywood industry, which faced potential collapse this year amid stiff competition from the Writers Guild of America and internal discord within SAG. Not since 1960, when both the WGA and SAG staged simultaneous strikes, has the industry encountered such a significant dual work stoppage. The resolution of the WGA strike in September, which introduced protective measures against AI infringement on writers’ work, set the stage for the current breakthrough.

The crux of the recent negotiations revolved around generative AI, with studios proposing an innovative plan in July aimed at safeguarding digital representations of stars. SAG raised concerns over the potential exploitation of performers’ digital likenesses, envisioning a scenario where actors could be scanned, compensated, and perpetually utilized as digital entities by studios—an idea vehemently opposed by AMPTP.

The deadlock persisted until the recent alteration of the AI language in the producers’ proposal on Tuesday, signaling a turning point in the discussions. While the exact details of the revised agreement remain undisclosed, it is evident that some concessions regarding AI protections were likely made to address the actors’ concerns.

The dialogue surrounding artificial intelligence has transcended hypothetical scenarios to become a pressing global issue, underscored by President Joe Biden’s recent executive order aimed at regulating professional AI influence. SAG emphasized the pivotal role of workers and unions in shaping policies for responsible AI development and implementation, aligning with the broader efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of AI technologies.

As the strikes draw to a close, there is cautious optimism regarding the resolution of critical issues affecting guild members’ livelihoods and fair compensation in the evolving landscape of streaming content. The impending conclusion of the labor disputes also paves the way for the resumption of film productions such as Gladiator 2 and Andor, signaling a positive outlook for the industry’s recovery and continuity.

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Last modified: February 5, 2024
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