Hollywood Actors Seek Legal Protection from AI Avatar Cloning

Hollywood Actors Seek Legal Protection from AI Avatar Cloning

Hollywood Actors Seek Legal Protection from AI Avatar Cloning

On Wednesday, a senator from California introduced legislation that would permit actors to opt out of contracts involving the use of their visage to create digital avatars using artificial intelligence (AI).

The strike of Hollywood actors persists. If no labor organization or attorney represented them, AB459 would allow actors, particularly voice actors, to nullify ambiguous contracts regarding using artificial intelligence to clone their voices, features, and bodies digitally.

Ash Kalra, a Democrat from the 25th Assembly District in California, introduced the measure.

San Jose is the largest metropolis in Silicon Valley. Assemblymember Kalra stated that, in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement between the union and studios to address the digital reproduction of a performer’s work adequately, AB 459 is a reasonable legislative solution to protect performers’ rights against this type of AI.

 AI Rules in Actors Union Agreement Are ‘Not a Waiver,’ Director Remarks”We need common sense contract provisions in a world where your digital self can usurp your employment,” he said.

“Requiring informed consent and representation would help ensure that employees are not unwittingly at risk of losing their digital selves, careers, and means of subsistence.” 

According to the Los Angeles Times, California law deems “unconscionable” and unenforceable contracts that do not explicitly identify the uses of an AI-generated digital duplicate. 

In June, 98 % of SAG-AFTRA members voted for a strike before negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

AI tools hinder negotiations between performers and producers. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, told Decrypt, “If you’re going to use AI or digital technology to replicate someone’s image or visage, we want informed consent and compensation.” 

After July’s breakdown of negotiations between the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on the picket line.

However, many SAG-AFTRA members have supported the WGA for weeks. SAG-AFTRA is concerned that generative AI models will create duplicates of actors and voice actors.

Still, it also wants wage increases, compensation for streaming programs, and health and retirement benefits.  

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