Actors claim movie studios offered them a day's pay for AI likeness

In a recent episode of the popular television show "Black Mirror," digital versions of actors were used to create infinite possibilities of content for a fictional streaming platform. This fictional scenario has now become a concern for members of the actors' union SAG-AFTRA, who fear that this may soon become a reality.

During negotiations with studios, the union's national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, revealed that the studios proposed paying background actors for a day in exchange for companies taking scans that can be used to create their digital likenesses. The proposal also suggested that these companies should have the right to use these digital replicas in any project without consent or compensation.

However, the studios and streamers, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), have disputed this characterization. They claim that their proposal includes seeking permission from actors and that the digital replicas of background actors would only be used in the specific motion picture for which they were employed.

SAG-AFTRA, on the other hand, argues that actors face an existential threat to their livelihoods with the rise of generative AI technology. They believe that the studios' proposal could potentially lead to a future where actors are replaced by digital versions without their consent or compensation.

Amidst this dispute, the union's national board has voted to order a strike. This means that actors will join Hollywood writers on the picket lines, as members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since May.

It is important to note that both sides have their own perspective on the issue, and the truth likely lies somewhere in between. The studios argue that they are seeking permission and that the use of digital replicas would be limited, while the actors' union is concerned about the potential implications for actors' livelihoods.

As the negotiations continue and the strike takes place, it remains to be seen how this issue will be resolved. Both parties must find a balance between the creative possibilities of technology and the protection of actors' rights and livelihoods.


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