SAG-AFTRA Strikes Landmark Deal with Studios – AI, Benefits, and More!

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has disclosed details of an unprecedented labor agreement with Hollywood studios.

by Faruk Imamovic
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SAG-AFTRA Strikes Landmark Deal with Studios – AI, Benefits, and More!
© Getty Images News/Mario Tama

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has disclosed details of an unprecedented labor agreement with Hollywood studios. Announced last Friday, the deal promises substantial wage increases, enhanced benefits, and pioneering protections in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI).

The agreement, which was tentatively reached on Wednesday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), has been hailed as a landmark achievement, ending a historic strike that has impacted the industry.

Eighty-six percent of the union's national board approved the tentative agreement, according to Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator and national executive director.

Key Terms and Ratification Process

Before these changes take effect, union members must ratify the terms.

The voting process commences Tuesday and extends until the first week of December, a standard 21-day period, Crabtree-Ireland explained. To inform its members, the union plans to conduct informational sessions in the upcoming weeks.

One of the most notable aspects of the contract is the introduction of consent and compensation guidelines for AI applications. This stipulation mandates that studios obtain informed consent for creating any digital replicas of performers, detailing the intended use.

Additionally, the contract ensures compensation variations for such replicas. This agreement also extends protection to background performers, safeguarding them against unauthorized use of their digital likenesses.

AI and Performer Rights: A Crucial Aspect of Negotiations

Negotiations concerning the use of AI to create synthetic performers were intense.

Union officials emphasized that studios must gain consent from actors whose facial features are employed for AI creations, inform them about the AI usage, and negotiate compensation for those affected. Union leader Fran Drescher underscored that AI protections were a crucial element of the deal.

Moreover, the agreement enhances pension and health benefits for union members. Another significant inclusion is the assurance of appropriate hair and makeup services for all performers and the requirement of intimacy coordinators for scenes involving nudity or simulated intimacy.

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