The rapid development of generative AI technologies has increased the complexity of negotiations between unions and studios in the entertainment industry. As always, questions around control and ownership of data--in this case, likenesses and other information used to represent an actor or other artist--will determine how the value created by these technologies is distributed amongst the various parties involved. SAG-AFTRA has indicated that its starting position will be union scale for payment for the use of AI-created likenesses. It remains to be seen whether existing copyright frameworks will be sufficient to support this position and distribute value accordingly, or if new frameworks will be needed to account for the variety of new ways in which artists' likenesses, and the underlying cachet, can be monetized.

A top priority for the actors union is to ensure that there is "informed consent" about the use of performers' AI-created likenesses and that they are paid fairly for the work of their digital doubles, Crabtree-Ireland said. "I don't think we want to see our members in a race to the bottom with their own digital doubles," he said. "All of our members' work is subject to negotiation above a certain minimum [and] the starting point would be union scale" payments for AI-created likenesses.

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