Studios Want To Own Actors’ Images Forever Thanks To AI

By TeeJay Small | Published

Despite the WGA strike concluding in a stunning victory for union-repped writers everywhere, the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike has failed to make any meaningful moves in recent months. This is due to a number of moving factors, though the single largest issue plaguing labor negotiations seems to lie in the AMPTP’s demand to use actors’ AI likenesses in perpetuity.

The AMPTP Won’t Budge On Negotiations

According to a write-up in The Hollywood Reporter, talks to end the SAG-AFTRA strike have once again broken down after the studios representing the AMPTP refused to budge on their contractual ownership of actors’ likenesses.

Studio’s Want To Own Actors’ Likeness Forever

This is one of many issues wrought by the rise of artificial intelligence in the workforce, which was also a key sticking point for striking writers. Despite AI and other advancements in technology existing as a means to free human beings from the needless tedium of daily life, it seems that the wealthy elite responsible for financing creative endeavors have decided to task AI with replacing creators in favor of forcing humans to focus on needless tedium. This is especially egregious in the ongoing SAG-AFTRA negotiations, which seek to copy actors’ likenesses with AI imaging and cut the human beings out of the deal entirely once the scans are complete.

Studios Would Offer A One Time Payment To Scan Their Likeness

actors strike

While the AMPTP seems to be offering a bit of wiggle room in their other negotiation points, such as fair pay and benefits for union-repped actors, the executives pulling the strings just can’t seem to give up their hope that AI performances will dominate box offices in the future.

The studios’ plan, as it currently stands, is to make comprehensive 3D models of actors in order to utilize their likeness for decades or even centuries to come without offering pay or credit to the digitally scanned performer. For a point of reference, this would be like forcing an employee in an office job to perform their duties for a single week before resolving to copy and paste their workload for all future weeks, while firing the office worker entirely.

SAG-AFTRA Is Also Unwilling To Waiver

Obviously, this move is completely untenable for an industry that requires artists to create unflinching representations of the human experience, as actors’ performances would be lifeless and uninspired when constructed by an AI algorithm.

According to insider reports, the latest AMPTP meetings have resulted in studios agreeing to adjust their demands to only reserve rights to Schedule F performers, though the SAG-AFTRA union has bravely refused to budge on their position. Schedule F performers indicate any member of the actors union who make more than the requisite $32,000 per episode rate for television series, or $60,000 for feature-length films.

Using AI To Revive The Dead

In addition to scanning living actors faces for AI, studios have even proposed utilizing digital scans of deceased performers without the consent of their estate, suggesting a horrifically morbid dystopian future for filmmaking and movie-going. For now, the union seems to remain completely dead-locked in their negotiations with the studios, resulting in the strike’s prolonged continuation.

With actors and other Hollywood performers struggling to pay their bills as studios are forced to shift their production schedule for years to come, the strike has threatened to become a financial war of attrition with no end in sight.