July 16, 2024
New California Bill Aims to Safeguard Actors from AI Impersonation

New California Bill Aims to Safeguard Actors from AI Impersonation

Amid the ongoing actors’ strike in Hollywood, a California lawmaker has introduced a bill, AB459, aimed at providing actors with the ability to terminate contracts involving the use of their likeness for creating digital avatars through artificial intelligence. This legislation would empower actors, including voice actors, to void contracts related to AI-generated clones of their voices, faces, and bodies if they lack representation from a labor union or lawyer.

Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a Democrat representing California’s 25th Assembly District, which includes Silicon Valley’s largest city, San Jose, introduced the bill. Kalra emphasized that AB459 serves as an expedient legislative solution to safeguard performers’ rights in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement addressing the use of digital replication. He stressed the importance of informed consent and representation to protect workers from potentially losing control over their digital selves, careers, and livelihoods.

Under California law, contracts that fail to clearly define the potential uses of AI-generated digital replicas would be considered “unconscionable” and unenforceable. The issue of AI tools’ usage is a major point of contention in negotiations between actors, represented by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), and producers in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike, citing concerns about informed consent and fair compensation when AI or digital technology is used to recreate their likeness. Talks between the two groups broke down in July, leading SAG-AFTRA members to join the Writer Guild of America (WGA) members on strike. The strike encompasses various demands, including wage increases, enhanced compensation for streaming content, and improved health and retirement benefits, alongside addressing AI-related issues.

Image By vecstock

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