AI is the Biggest Reason the Hollywood Actors Strike Isn’t Ending






SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee on Sunday said it formally responded to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ “last, best and final offer,” noting that the two sides remain far apart on some issues. 

“There are several essential items on which we still do not have an agreement, including AI,” the committee said in a statement

Barely a week into November, the two parties have been working through proposals and counter-proposals. The guild issued an artificial intelligence counter-proposal to studio representatives during a three-hour meeting on November 1. AI appears to be a major talking point, according to the last few updates from SAG-AFTRA. 

When actors joined Hollywood writers on the picket line in July, AI was a lynchpin issue for both parties. The rampant interest – and lack of regulation – in AI over the last year is already being felt by workers in multiple industries.

For example, some creators argue that AI-generated images they’ve created deserve copyright protections, but multiple courts have denied requests. Other artists are fighting back against AI in an effort to protect their work. In addition, the music industry has been removing AI-generated music from streaming platforms on the grounds of copyright infringement. Amazon has also limited the number of books an author can self-publish in a single day after an influx of suspected AI-generated material was listed for sale. 

The AMPTP wants to secure AI scans for Schedule F performers, or guild members who earn more than the minimum for series regulars ($32,000 per TV episode) and films ($60,000), sources told The Hollywood Reporter

The clause would require studios and streamers to pay to scan the likeness of Schedule F performers, sources said, but SAG-AFTRA wants to attach compensation for the re-use of those scans as well as require the AMPTP to secure consent from the performer. The AMPTP’s current offer would allow studios and streaming services to use AI scans of deceased performers without consent from their estate or SAG-AFTRA.

One union-side source said the AI clause is one of the reasons the guild didn’t accept the studios’ latest offer. 

“This is massive. Every A-, B-, C-, D- and E-lister — all the higher-paid performers — who think this is a minimum wage strike – they must know they are in this fight,” the source told The Hollywood Reporter. “They can’t have that loophole to exploit performers.”

October saw talks between actors and Hollywood studio representatives restart and break down within a few weeks. Despite the AMPTP characterizing its latest offer as the “final” one, it’s not guaranteed that the actors will accept it. 

SAG-AFTRA has been on strike for almost 120 days.

Image credit: SAG-AFTRA

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