July 21, 2024

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Chief negotiator says AI is talking ‘out of the way’ with studios – Deadline

Chief negotiator says AI is talking ‘out of the way’ with studios – Deadline

After AMPTP called their AI proposal to SAG-AFTRA yesterday “groundbreaking”, the Federation of Representatives’ national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, still disagrees.

“We’re a long way off in AI,” said Crabtree-Ireland, explaining in his argument yesterday that AMPTP is doing a back-end performance hardener at that bargain point.

Crabtree-Ireland made his remarks outside Disney Studios today on what was the final stop on a one-day tour of the studio with SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.

“Companies refuse to acknowledge that you cannot expect people to sign their name, image, look, sound, and personality to some corporate conglomerate without any right to say what they will do with it in the future,” Ireland’s Crabtree said.

He added, “This is not going to happen, we are not going to agree to terms like that, so the companies have to move in our direction and come to a reasonable agreement.”

“We didn’t go into these negotiations and say ‘let’s ban AI’,” Crabtree-Ireland explained.

“We went into these negotiations saying that AI should be done in a way that respects actors and respects their human rights to their bodies, their voice, their image and their likeness.”

“Nothing less than that will be acceptable.”

AMPTP said yesterday that it had submitted to SAG-AFTRA “a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects the digital likeness of performers, including a requirement for a performer to consent to the creation and use of digital replicas or to make digital alterations to a performance.”

However, in yesterday’s Actors Guild strike officer, Crabtree-Ireland refuted, “This ‘groundbreaking’ artificial intelligence proposal they made to us yesterday that our background performers should be able to scan and get paid for a day’s wages and should Their companies have that scanned image, their likeness that they can use for the rest of eternity on any project they want without consent and without compensation. If you think that’s a groundbreaking proposition, I suggest you think again.”

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As to when studios and broadcasters will start to feel the hit to their earnings from the SAG-AFTRA strike, Crabtree-Ireland said, “I think given all the effort they’ve put into trying to manipulate us into a stretch, I think they’re concerned about the immediate impact, particularly in terms of promoting summer movies and things like that.”

On how consumers, TV and streaming viewers can show their solidarity, Crabtree-Ireland encouraged them to “speak out on social media”.

“Viewers can help us think about the behavior of companies; the companies they choose to consume content from,” added the head of conversations.

“Consumers are watching, and consumers know the fight we’re in is fair, so I think these companies should be very concerned about alienating the public.”

Crabtree-Ireland added, “This wouldn’t have been the case ten or 20 years ago: there is a movement for labor solidarity and fair treatment of workers in this country, and we are part of that movement,” adding that “it will cost these companies if they refuse to acknowledge that.”

While it’s still early days to go on strike, Crabtree-Ireland said it doesn’t rule out pickets in other cities where some of these streaming headquarters are located, read Seattle, home of Amazon.

“You can expect us anywhere where these companies have a presence,” he said.

Some rank-and-file representatives were concerned about how SAG-AFTRA would handle the line of streamers to pull movies and series from OTT services in the latest AMPTP contract talks.

Crabtree-Ireland told Deadline, “I don’t think that’s going to be a point in our discussions, we’re more focused on sharing revenue from streamers, rather than on specific projects because there’s obviously a lot of factors that go into this.”

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“We have proposals around AVOD, but we’ve been really focused on subscriptions and subscription streaming as the primary focus of that. We’re not talking about profit sharing, we’re talking about revenue share.”

Similar to what he said this morning on Drescher’s first Netflix strike stop, Crabtree-Ireland said again that there has been no word from AMPTP to return to talks since Wednesday night’s breakup.