What you need to know:
After a series of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA signed a historic agreement with Replica Studios that will change the use of artificial intelligence and the image of actors in video games.
We remember 2023 as a complicated year for the entertainment industry, because at the same time, Hollywood screenwriters and actors unions were on strike, something that has not been seen for a long time. Even though things were resolved and everything returned to normal, There was one issue that remained pending: the use of actors’ voices in video games.
As you may remember, one of the most important demands that the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) had and one of the most important conversations that took place over the years almost 5 months that the strike lasted was that sand regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) not only in movies, series and television programs, but also within the gaming industry.
Artificial intelligence was a major topic during the strike
In particular, what the Hollywood actors union was most concerned about with AI was that its implementation in the entertainment industry contemplated that The studies will completely scan the so-called background performers –better known as extras or ‘background actors’–, to which They allegedly only intended to pay them for a day’s work to use their image and voice in any project they wanted.. Of course, without having to ask for their consent or give them extra compensation.
When negotiating with the large studios that make up the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP in English), SAG-AFTRA signed an important agreement that involved artificial intelligence, and it seemed like everyone was happy and content about it. However, The issue of this technology and the actors within video games remained on the table..
Hollywood actors union signs big deal with Replica Studios
But everything indicates that the Hollywood actors union had everything coldly calculated, since they have just announced a deal that, in addition to being historic, definitely needs to be kept an eye on. It turns out that during CES 2024, one of the largest technology events in the world, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, announced an important alliance for the work of its members with the company Replica Studios.
SAG-AFTRA and the artificial intelligence voice technology company signed an agreement that will cover both the creation of digital voice replicas of actors and their use during game development. But not only that, since the pact also covers some of the economic and professional demands of those involved.
The important points this deal covers
We say this because according to the Hollywood actors union itself, the agreement includes Minimum rates and terms requiring secure storage of artist datatransparency about the nature of the content of the digital replica that will be used, consent of the artist for the use of his replica in any new projectas well asimitations in the amount of time and performance that a replica can be used without additional payment or consent.
Basically, With this agreement, the actors will receive a fair payment for the use of their voice and image, in addition to knowing which productions they will be in.. Crabtree-Ireland explained that this whole deal highlights the “SAG-AFTRA’s intent and ability to work with employers to create terms that benefit and protect our members and enable them to take advantage of opportunities driven by new technologies”.
A new strike of actors could come within the video game industry
Although this news is spectacular for all members of the Hollywood actors union, It seems that the outlook remains complicated for all those who work in the video game industry. And it is that SAG-AFTRA continues in negotiations with other studios and developers where they seek to achieve the same as with Replica Studios. But everything indicates that things will get ugly.
In accordance with deadline, Union members within the gaming world have authorization to go on strike And if this were not enough, Crabtree-Ireland not only supported those who think that this could be the definitive tool to meet their demands, he also hinted that are ready to use this resource very soon.
According to the same source, Activision Productions Inc., Blindlight LLC, Disney Character Voices Inc., Electronic Arts Productions Inc., Epic Games, Inc., Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc., Take 2 Productions Inc., VoiceWorks. Productions Inc. and WB Games Inc They are the studios that the Hollywood actors union would put in check if they decide to stop their activities.
Everything you didn’t know . .