Directors and Writers Unite Against AI’s Onscreen Takeover

The Coalition for Film and Television in New York is supporting two similar bills in New York. These bills would restrict those applying for the Empire State’s film production credit from employing AI technologies that might replace human roles in their projects. This coalition consists of entities like SAG-AGTRA, WGA East, Directors Guild of America, Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600), Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700), United Scenic Artists (IATSE Local 829), IATSE Local 52, and Teamsters Local 817.

Both the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA see the adoption of AI in film and TV production as a primary concern. They initiated strikes on May 2 and July 14, respectively. The DGA confirmed their recent agreement, approved in June, includes specific AI limitations. Meanwhile, IATSE, which plans to begin contract talks next year, mentioned that AI poses a risk to the traditional business structures and could negatively impact IATSE members’ earnings.

In a recent release, the Union Coalition emphasized the unparalleled significance of human creativity over machine-generated content. They also highlighted that the proposed bills aptly safeguard jobs in the film and TV sector and prevent the undue use of creative assets they champion. They expressed eagerness to collaborate further with Senator Webb and Assemblymember Meeks regarding this.

While acknowledging AI’s potential to enrich lives and job landscapes, the coalition stressed the importance of not letting this technology undermine human roles in entertainment. They pledged not to remain passive and committed to negotiations with decision-makers to uphold their member’s indispensable role in the arts.

The DGA revealed that their updated contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers includes specific commitments concerning Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI). They specified that roles traditionally held by DGA-affiliated individuals must remain so and that GAI isn’t deemed a human entity. Their agreement also states that GAI’s integration into creative processes requires prior discussions with the Director or relevant DGA-associated personnel. Furthermore, high-level studio officials are mandated to converse biannually with the DGA on potential GAI applications and discuss suitable compensation for content used to train these AI systems.

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