California Lawmaker Proposes Legislation to Protect Actors From AI Clones – A bill introduced by a California legislator aims to safeguard actors, artists, and entertainers from artificial intelligence by requiring employment contracts to include explicit informed consent regarding digital replicas. Ash Kalra, a State of California Assembly member and the bill’s sponsor, contends that generative AI poses a substantial threat to individuals in the entertainment industry, advocating for its prohibition unless mutually agreed upon through a negotiation process.
This legislation, designated as Assembly Bill 459, will eventually undergo review, discussion, and potential amendments by a committee before reaching the chamber for a vote. Kalra explained in a Sept. 13 statement that “common sense requirements” like those in bill AB 459 need to be implemented to protect these workers: “Mandating informed consent and representation will help ensure workers are not unknowingly at risk of losing the right to their digital self, and with it, their careers and livelihoods.”
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The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), a U.S.-based labor union representing over 100,000 media professionals globally, also endorsed the bill. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the national executive director and chief negotiator of the guild, emphasized that enacting consent-based laws to safeguard an actor’s digital likeness has become a necessity.
“We believe that our members must maintain full control over the use of their digital selves through informed consent, and this is key if they are to be able to build and sustain a career,” he explained. Crabtree-Ireland said AI copycats can lead to “abusive” and “exploitative” practices and that legislation will play a key role in curtailing such conduct: “We see protection against the unjust transfers of these rights to be an imperative against potential abusive or exploitative practices.
We are deeply concerned by the proliferation of AI-created audio and video content without full consent, and this legislation is an important step to ending these dangerous practices.” For nearly four months, the Screen Actors Guild has led an ongoing strike in Hollywood, advocating for improved base compensation, enhanced working conditions, and other contentious matters.
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One of the central concerns raised pertains to artificial intelligence, with workers calling for more rigorous safeguards against AI and increased royalties, commonly referred to as residuals, for their work. In a recent interview with Variety, American actor Sean Penn criticized numerous studios’ aspirations to employ actors’ likenesses and voices for future AI applications.