Negotiations are moving forward for Hollywood’s largest union.
SAG-AFTRA announced in a new joint statement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios and streamers, on Wednesday that talks would proceed on Friday as well as resume on Monday. The joint statement and the continuation of negotiations will likely be read as a positive sign as the 2023 actors strike stretches on.
“SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP met for a full day bargaining session and have concluded,” the statement read. “Negotiations will continue on Friday, October 6, with the parties working internally over the weekend, resuming Monday, October 9.”
SAG-AFTRA restarted negotiations with the AMPTP for the first time since it went on strike in July on Monday. The parties changed up the venue — they met at the union’s national headquarters in Los Angeles, as opposed to the AMPTP’s offices in Sherman Oaks — and brought in some of the industry’s top leaders, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and NBCUniversal Studio Group chairman and chief content officer Donna Langley. Both sides paused on Tuesday before continuing talks on Wednesday.
SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, took a break from bargaining on Wednesday to address the Federal Trade Commission about generative AI’s threat to creative industries — which is one of SAG-AFTRA’s top issues in its 2023 negotiations.
In the talk, Crabtree-Ireland argued that there was a “double standard” when it came to studios and entertainment companies using AI. “If an individual decided to infringe on one of these companies’ copyright-protected content, and distributed it without paying for the licensing rights, that individual would face a great deal of financial and legal ramifications,” Crabtree-Ireland said. “So one of why is the reverse not true? Shouldn’t the individuals whose intellectual property was used to train the AI algorithm at least be equally protected?”
With this round of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA is pushing to institute a “comprehensive set of provisions to protect human-created work and require informed consent and fair compensation when a ‘digital replica’ is made of a performer, or when their voice, likeness, or performance will be substantially changed using AI,” the union has said.