SAG-AFTRA ratifies TV animation contracts that establish AI protections for voice actors

SAG-AFTRA ratified new contracts for voice actors working in television animation after more than 95 percent of members voted in favor of the terms. The three-year contracts introduce new safeguards around the use of AI, including a requirement that producers get an actor’s consent before using their name to create an AI-generated voice. SAG-AFTRA announced the approval of the contracts Friday evening. They will be valid until June 30, 2026.

According to the new contracts, “the term ‘voice actor’ covers only humans.” The contracts also outline voice actors’ rights to use studios’ digital replicas and require producers to notify and bargain with the union when they use AI-generated voices instead of voice actors. “This is the first SAG-AFTRA animation voting agreement to protect against the abuse of artificial intelligence,” Television Animation Negotiating Committee co-chairs Bob Bergen and David Jolliffe said in a statement.

SAG-AFTRA Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the deal “represents a significant step forward in expanding our AI protections while introducing important new terms in the areas of foreign residuals, high-budget SVOD.” [subscription video-on-demand] production, late payments, etc.” The agreements set out a series of wage increases starting July 1, 2023, with a 7 percent increase, which will take retroactive payments to participants. This will be followed by a 4 percent increase on July 1 this year and a 3.5 percent increase next year.

The union announced earlier this year has reached an agreement with an artificial intelligence voice generation company Replica Studios offers voice actors a way to “safely” license their digital voice replicas for video games. AI protection was also an important component An agreement was reached that ended the SAG-AFTRA strike Late last year with Hollywood studios.

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