- The actors’ union SAG-AFTRA has finalized a deal for AI voice acting licensing in the recent CES 2024 event.
- The deal will allow voice actors to license their digital voices to game studios with various conditions in place.
- Many voice actors and some of the users are unsatisfied with the current conditions the union has agreed on.
Game studios had been using the voices of actors without consent to create replicas. The general belief was that the consent of VAs was not needed in these scenarios. However, the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA has struck a deal with Replica Studios for AI voice acting licensing. The licensing deal was announced during the CES 2024 event. The union has made license compulsory and added conditions that allow game studios to replicate voices.
The voice actors will now also receive compensation in the proper system introduced by SAG-AFTRA. The union members can license a digital replica of their voices to game studios for a limited time, with fair and ethical treatment towards contracts, consent, and compensation. Before the negotiations of these terms, the gaming studios did not need consent to mimic the voices of different VAs using the growing power of AI.
So, if you fast-forward from the position that they took as early as January 2023 to the position we now have with these contract terms and some of the legislation that’s coming, we have flipped that whole narrative on its head. They recognize now they can’t do this without consent,” said SAG-AFTRA’s Jeffrey Bennet.
SAG-AFTRA mentions that voice actors can now safely provide replicas of their voices and explore new opportunities as game studios utilize them under contracts. The partnership between Replica Studios and the union will allow the gaming industry to hire top talent without VAs allegedly getting the short end of the stick.
With agreement, we have achieved fully informed consent and fair compensation when it comes to the use of our members’ voices and performances,” said union’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
It is worth noting that the deal does not cover LLMs. It was claimed that they are “out-of-scope of this agreement.” Nevertheless, it is believed that a deal concerning them will also be reached in the future in collaboration with Replica Studios as work continues.
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However, some VAs disagreed and wanted harsher rules to be enforced by the union before the deal was finalized, like not allowing the use of AI at all in the future. As a result, not everyone is content with the new SAG-AFTRA pact since AI use will persist. The community has taken to social media to address their concerns. Actors are worried because the union allegedly went on a strike only to prevent AI from seeping into the work of VAs.
SAG-AFTRA: "Approved by affected members of the union's voiceover performer community…"
— Yong Yea (@YongYea) January 9, 2024
Previously, the SAG-AFTRA actors voted a resounding 98.32% out of 100% votes in favor of authorizing a video game strike. However, many users are now concerned with the aftermath of how the deal will affect the industry and the growing use of AI since it does not stop it.
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