SAG-AFTRA Thanks California for Getting ‘One Step Closer’ to Protecting Dead Actors From AI Replication

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) thanked California for helping to get closer to solidifying protections against artificial intelligence after voting to unanimously pass the state’s Digital Replica Bill.

“Thank you to members of the California Senate Judiciary for unanimously passing AB 1836,” the union wrote on X on Wednesday. The post was coupled with a photo of the members of the California State Judiciary. “Another step closer to ensuring AI protections for California’s deceased performers. #ProtectArtists.”

In response to the vote, SAG-AFTRA vice president and L.A. Local president Jodi Long wrote: “We should be free to live and die without the feat of becoming someone else’s unpaid digital puppet.”

Their praises come after California legislators progressed the revision of the state law AB 1836, also known as the California Digital Replica Bill. If set into law, it would block the unauthorized use of a deceased artist’s likeness or image in film, television or music. Per its definition, the bill outlines AI use as a “digital replica of a deceased personality,” including a person’s voice, or being used “in any manner related to the work performed by the deceased personality while living.”

Ultimately, the wins SAG-AFTRA took home in its fight for AI protections would be broadened through the bill. Elsewhere, California’s AB 2602 covers consent for digital replicas as it relates to performance contracts for video games, audiobooks and more.

This past June, New York passed its own similar bill for performers, titled the Digital Replica Contracts Act, which was previously approved unanimously in the New York State Senate.

“The bill demands that performers have informed consent and proper representation, by a lawyer or a union, before a company can obtain rights to digitally replicate their voice or likeness in place of physical work,” the Screen Actors Guild previously said in a statement to TheWrap. SAG-AFTRA noted that sometimes these rights are “buried within the fine print of contracts or terms of service,” which may lead performers to unknowingly sign away their rights.

The next step for California’s Digital Replica Bill for is for it to move to the second chamber before it’s officially, potentially enacted.

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