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### Addressing AI Concerns in the Recent SAG-AFTRA Strike Resolution

The union’s members will soon begin voting on whether or not to ratify the tentative agreemen…

Although the era of Hollywood disputes concluded recently when SAG-AFTRA ceased its picketing activities following the tentative agreement with the AMPTP, there are still ongoing developments. Prior to the union members’ vote on the proposed three-year contract, the organization has released details of the agreement online.

A comprehensive summary of the deal, valued at approximately $1 billion, along with a specific visual guide on the A.I. regulations within the agreement—an essential point of contention that prolonged the strike for 118 days—has been published online ahead of the official membership vote scheduled for November 10th. This decision came after 86% of SAG-AFTRA’s board members approved the agreement.

The summary highlights the streaming revenue-sharing arrangement included in the deal, mirroring the WGA’s post-strike earnings model. Notably, the profit-sharing system will benefit projects that attract a minimum of 20% of a streaming platform’s audience within 90 days of release. Financed by a $40 million annual fund allocated each year of the agreement, the revenue will be distributed to feature films, miniseries, and long-form content premiering on or after January 1, 2024. While specific payment details are not provided in the overview, it mentions a 75-25 split between the cast and a joint fund managed by SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, with a board of trustees overseeing the residual fund distribution.

Despite the significant progress, the focus now shifts to the A.I. protections outlined by SAG-AFTRA, considering the prevalent concerns during the strike negotiations. The summary categorizes various uses of artificial intelligence in production roles, such as creating digital replicas through A.I. prompts and replicating background actors for crowd scenes, either physically during filming or from archival material.

The agreement emphasizes the necessity of explicit consent from both living actors and the estates of deceased individuals, as well as fair compensation for utilizing such replicas, especially for background actors. Safeguards are in place to ensure that these replicas do not substitute for actual background actors. However, questions may arise regarding the scale of these arrangements outlined in the initial agreement, particularly concerning actors’ approval of A.I.-enhanced post-production alterations.

As the approval process unfolds, members may express concerns over the significant caveats and omitted specifics in the summary, as highlighted by actress/writer Justine Bateman, who played a pivotal role as a union advisor on conceptual A.I. issues.

The voting process for SAG-AFTRA members commences on Monday, November 14, and is expected to continue until early December. Nonetheless, the complete Memorandum of Agreement detailing the package has not been fully disclosed.

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Last modified: February 28, 2024
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