Longest Strike in Hollywood History Ends With $1 Billion Deal to Protect Actors Against AI

After 118 days, the longest strike by actors in the history of Hollywood has come to an end. The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the union representing over 160,000 actors, announced that a new deal worth $1 billion has been reached. This groundbreaking agreement includes new protections against the threat of AI.

The Agreement

In a statement released on its website and social media accounts, SAG-AFTRA revealed that its negotiators unanimously voted in favor of ending the strike. The deal was reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade group representing major Hollywood studios and production companies.

The deal includes “unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI.”

Negotiations between actors and studios were suspended due to two major sticking points: the use of AI and 3D scanning of actors. While 3D scanning has been used for special effects in films since the 1980s, its accessibility and affordability have increased significantly in recent years. This has led to concerns among actors that their digital likeness could be manipulated without their consent.

Furthermore, the rise of generative AI has fueled fears that actors’ likenesses could be puppeted by studios in movies beyond what they originally agreed to, resulting in potential loss of income. To address these concerns, the new agreement includes measures to protect actors from the misuse of their digital representations.

Protecting Actors’ Rights

Several tech startups have emerged, working with actors and performers to create “digital twins” of their likenesses. One such company is Metaphysic, based in the UK, which aims to not only digitize actors but also provide a platform for monetizing their digital twins.

As recently as a few days ago, negotiations were hindered by the studios’ desire to secure AI scans and the right to use scans of deceased performers without consent. However, a compromise was reached between SAG-AFTRA and the studios, reflecting the best interests of their members.

Specific details of the tentative agreement have not been released yet, as the SAG-AFTRA National Board is set to review the terms. However, it is important to note that the proposed contract is valid for three years, after which the union will need to negotiate again. This ensures that actors’ rights and protections remain up to date.

In the meantime, SAG-AFTRA has announced the official suspension of the strike and the closure of all picket locations. The union plans on organizing celebration gatherings across the country to mark this significant achievement.

“In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes ‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus.”

The agreement not only addresses concerns related to AI but also brings substantial raises to Pension & Health caps, benefiting actors for years to come. Background performers will receive outsize compensation increases, and the agreement includes provisions to protect diverse communities within the industry.

The tireless efforts of SAG-AFTRA members, the support of union siblings, and the solidarity within the industry have made these improvements possible. This groundbreaking deal paves the way for actors in Hollywood to build sustainable careers.

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