Hollywood races to curb AI exploitation, signs agreement with top record labels

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Workers in the entertainment sector have reached a tentative agreement with major labels such as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to obtain protections against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and increased minimum salaries.

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Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)  National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, disclosed the agreement details in a media release seen by Newsng on Saturday.

The deal tackles the rising worry about artists’ voices being imitated by generative AI without their permission. According to the new regulations, record labels are required to get permission and pay artists before releasing songs that use digital copies of their voices.

According to the press release, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) executive committee overwhelmingly accepted a new “Sound Recordings Agreement” that extends from 2021 to 2026.

SAG-AFTRA claims that under this agreement, the phrases “artist,” “singer,” and “royalty artist” only refer to human beings. Improvements to health and retirement benefits are also included in the deal, as is an increase in the percentage of streaming revenue that is due to contributions.

It is expected that members will cast a final ratification vote in the upcoming weeks.

Announcing the partnership, Crabtree-Ireland said:

“SAG-AFTRA and the music industry’s largest record labels have reached a groundbreaking agreement establishing, for the first time, collective bargaining guardrails assuring singers and recording artists ethical and responsible treatment in the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry.

“It is a testament to our mutual unwavering commitment to work together to safeguard the rights, dignity and creative freedom of our members.”

The deal was reached at a time when AI technology is a big worry in the entertainment industry and will likely dominate talks between major studios and SAG-AFTRA in 2023. Negotiations resulted in a contract deal in November after months of strikes.

We earlier announced that Universal Music Group, UMG, has announced its strategic alliance with the global streaming music provider, Spotify.

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