SAG-AFTRA Strike Ends with Record-Breaking Contract, Securing AI Protections, US

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SAG-AFTRA, the US actors’ union, has concluded its 118-day strike with a groundbreaking contract that includes essential protections for actors against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry. The union’s national board approved the tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) after an overwhelming 86% vote in favor of the agreement.

The contract, worth over one billion US dollars (£818 million), marks a significant victory for the actors’ union. Sag-Aftra President Fran Drescher declared it a record-breaking achievement during a press conference held in Los Angeles. The agreement includes provisions for informed consent and fair compensation in relation to the creation and use of digital replicas of Sag-Aftra members, a crucial aspect that Ms. Drescher described as a deal-breaker.

The actors’ union was particularly concerned about the threat posed by AI in the entertainment industry, specifically the use of generative AI to create synthetic performers. Throughout the strike, Sag-Aftra engaged in a serious battle with Hollywood studios over the use of AI. However, the contract now ensures that compensation for utilizing AI must match the work that would have been undertaken by an actor. Additionally, companies are obligated to obtain performers’ consent before using their facial features in the creation of any synthetics.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the national executive director and chief negotiator for Sag-Aftra, emphasized that the deal on AI was robust and comprehensive, thereby allowing the industry to move forward without hindering AI advancements. Crucially, the agreement protects performers’ rights to consent, compensation, and employment.

The contract also entails an 11% wage increase for background actors and a 7% general wage increase, both of which take immediate effect. Mr. Crabtree-Ireland noted that these wage increases break the industry pattern. In addition to the wage improvements, the deal introduces new protections for the self-tape audition process and introduces a requirement to engage intimacy coordinators for scenes involving nudity or simulated sex. Moreover, it stipulates double pay for singers who dance and dancers who sing.

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The agreement will now undergo a ratification vote by Sag-Aftra members, with ballots being cast within a 21-day timeframe. The announcement of the contract’s approval was made in the presence of Ms. Drescher, Mr. Crabtree-Ireland, and members of the TV and theatrical negotiating committee who played a pivotal role in achieving the deal.

The strike, which commenced on July 14, caused significant disruption to Hollywood productions as disputes over pay and the threat of AI were at the forefront of concerns. This strike coincided with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which concluded in September after 146 days when the union reached an agreement with studio executives.

The successful resolution of the SAG-AFTRA strike highlights the union’s commitment to securing essential protections for its members in the face of emerging technologies like AI. With this groundbreaking contract, actors are empowered to navigate the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry while safeguarding their rights and interests.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the contract between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) about?

The contract is a groundbreaking agreement that includes essential protections for actors against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry. It addresses concerns related to the creation and use of digital replicas of SAG-AFTRA members and ensures fair compensation and informed consent for such usage.

Why was SAG-AFTRA particularly concerned about AI in the entertainment industry?

SAG-AFTRA was concerned about the threat posed by AI, specifically the use of generative AI to create synthetic performers. They battled with Hollywood studios throughout the strike to ensure that actors' rights and interests were protected in the face of emerging technologies.

How does the contract protect performers' rights?

The contract ensures that compensation for utilizing AI must match the work that would have been done by an actor. It also mandates that companies obtain performers' consent before using their facial features in the creation of synthetic performers. These provisions protect performers' rights to consent, compensation, and employment.

What other provisions are included in the contract?

The contract includes an 11% wage increase for background actors and a 7% general wage increase, both of which take immediate effect. It also introduces new protections for the self-tape audition process and requires the engagement of intimacy coordinators for scenes involving nudity or simulated sex. The contract stipulates double pay for singers who dance and dancers who sing.

What happens next with the contract?

The contract will undergo a ratification vote by SAG-AFTRA members, with ballots being cast within a 21-day timeframe. Once approved, the contract will be implemented, and its provisions will take effect.

When did the strike start, and how long did it last?

The strike started on July 14 and lasted for 118 days, concluding with the approval of the contract by SAG-AFTRA's national board.

How did the strike impact Hollywood productions?

The strike caused significant disruption to Hollywood productions, as disputes over pay and AI usage were major concerns. Several productions faced delays and complications during the strike period.

What other strike was happening during the same time?

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike was also taking place simultaneously. It concluded in September after 146 days when the union reached an agreement with studio executives.

How does this contract empower actors in the entertainment industry?

This groundbreaking contract empowers actors by ensuring their rights and interests are protected in the face of emerging technologies like AI. It allows actors to navigate the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry while securing essential protections for their work, compensation, and consent.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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