AI proposal sparks conflict in Hollywood as SAG-AFTRA goes on strike

Artificial intelligence (AI) has crept into another arm of Hollywood sending the industry back into an already established debate over its usage as Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)’s chief negotiator, revealed a proposal from Hollywood studios.

During a press conference on July 13 in which Hollywood actors confirmed that they were going on strike, Crabtree-Ireland revealed a proposal from Hollywood studios entailing an AI proposal featured in the statement made by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) after futile negotiation efforts.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) mentioned in their strike statement that they put forth a “groundbreaking AI proposal” aimed at safeguarding the digital likenesses of SAG-AFTRA members.

When questioned about the proposal in the press conference, Crabtree-Ireland responded by stating that the recently presented AI proposal suggested that background performers should undergo scanning, receive payment for a single day, and grant their companies complete ownership over the scan, image and likeness.

These companies would then have the unrestricted right to utilize it indefinitely for any project without seeking consent or providing compensation. Crabtree-Ireland expressed skepticism about labeling this proposal as groundbreaking and advised reconsidering such a perspective.

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The strike by the Hollywood labor union, SAG-AFTRA, which is a follow-up to the already existing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike was officially ordered effective from July 14, at 12:01 a.m. until a fair deal is reached with the AMPTP. The strike action marks the first time in 63 years that actors and writers have gone on strike simultaneously.

The WGA previously issued a set of requests to Hollywood studios, which encompassed the regulation of AI utilization within projects covered by the minimum basic agreement (MBA). The demands explicitly stated that AI should not be employed for writing or revising literary content, nor should it serve as source material.

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