“Strike was waste of time?”: SAG-AFTRA Signs Upsetting Deal With Replica That Has Left Fans Convinced That Money Has Finally Won

SAG-AFTRA’s recent deal with Replica Studios confuses netizens, as it throws the union's previous negotiations down the gutter.

“Strike was waste of time?”: SAG-AFTRA Signs Upsetting Deal With Replica That Has Left Fans Convinced That Money Has Finally Won

SUMMARY

  • According to the union's official website, SAG-AFTRA signed a deal with the renowned AI technology company, Replica Studios.
  • Previously instead of fully banning AI voices, the SAG-AFTRA union negotiated to work with companies only when the actors are consulted and fairly compensated for their AI voices.
  • Finding these very loopholes in the agreement, it is believed that the SAG-AFTRA union now awaits brutal AI exploitation.
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In the history of Hollywood, it’s been over six decades, since the entertainment industry faced two simultaneous strikes from WGA and SAG-AFTRA; the former ended in September 2023, while the latter ended with an agreement with producers. However, on a recent note, the SAG-AFTRA strike appears to be baseless, since the union struck an upsetting deal with Replica Studios. 

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SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA union

According to reports from the union’s official website, SAG-AFTRA signed a “groundbreaking” deal with AI technology company Replica Studios. As per the agreements, the deal will allow actors to create & license replicas of their voices in video games. Despite their previous lengthy contract negotiation with the industry, SAG-AFTRA’s deal now seems to create confusion on social media. 

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Talks with Video Games Companies Conclude with no Initial Deal

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SAG-AFTRA Signed a Deal With Replica Studios

After standing unanimously against artists’ exploitation in the entertainment industry, and forcing the producers to come to a negotiation, SAG-AFTRA turned the tables with their recent move. According to the union’s official website, SAG-AFTRA signed a deal with the renowned AI technology company, Replica Studios. 

SAG-AFTRA signed a “groundbreaking” deal with AI technology company Replica Studios
SAG-AFTRA signed a deal with AI technology company Replica Studios

Approved by affected members of the union’s voiceover performer community, this contract marks an important step towards the ethical use of AI voices in creative projects by game developers, and sets the basis for fair and equitable employment of voice actors as they explore the new revenue opportunities provided by AI.” 

In addition to establishing minimum terms and conditions, the agreement ensures performer consent and negotiation for uses of their digital voice double and requires that performers have the opportunity to opt out of its continued use in new works.” 

the deal will allow voice artists to explore employment opportunities for their voice replicas
The deal will allow voice artists to explore employment opportunities for their voice replicas

Introducing their “groundbreaking” AI voice agreement during an event at CES, SAG-AFTRA claimed that the deal will allow voice artists to explore employment opportunities for their voice replicas. It will allow video game studios and other companies working with Replica Studios to access top SAG-AFTRA talent. 

Also read: “He’d punch the CEO”: Netflix’s One Piece Tweet Severely Backfires as Fans Rip Streaming Giant Into Shreds for Glaring Hypocrisy

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The Original Motive of SAG-AFTRA Hollywood Strike 

Following SAG-AFTRA’s deal with Replica Studios which was brought to the user’s notice through their official website, it sent shockwaves through the internet. Netizens and professionals aren’t happy with the agreement, for they believe it completely destroys the motive behind their original Hollywood strike.

Hollywood strike
The union led the Hollywood strike in 2023

Previously, entertainment studios had claimed that they were not liable for performers’ consent for replicating their voices with AI. Therefore, considering this an issue, union members of SAG-AFTRA stood in solidarity expressing concerns about how AI could exploit artists by using their likenesses without fair compensation. 

SAG-AFTRA members are demanding better wages, rest periods, safety protections, and safeguards against the unregulated use of AI in video game contract negotiations.
The union members negotiated for fair pay and protection against the unregulated use of AI

Thus, waging war in the entertainment industry, the union started their long-drawn Hollywood strike, until they brought producers to their knees and made them negotiate to seek consent and offer fair compensation to the professionals. Instead of fully banning AI voices, the union negotiated to work with companies only when the actors are consulted and fairly compensated for their AI voices. 

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But the recent SAG-AFTRA deal seemingly convinced people that money is the ultimate driving force. 

Also read: Larian Studios took the Hollywood Route and hired Intimacy Coordinator’s to Help with Baldur’s Gate 3’s Sex Scenes

SAG-AFTRA Negotiations Await AI Exploitation 

Despite previously standing by ethics and forcing the producers to negotiate, when the union recently signed the deal with Replica Studios, netizens claimed that it broke the very spirit of the Hollywood strike. According to CNET, while the recent SAG-AFTRA-Replica agreement is specifically about video games, it might have a few loopholes that can later turn detrimental. 

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SAG-AFTRA
Netizens found a detrimental effect of the SAG-AFTRA deal with Replica Studios

While this agreement is specifically about video games, Crabtree-Ireland said other agreements might be reached for other kinds of vocal performances, such as music and TV commercials. The agreement does not cover the controversial use of performer voices to train large language models.” 

Crabtree-Ireland also said he saw no reason why the estates of dead performers could not agree to the use of those voices under the new licensing agreement.” 

Finding these very loopholes in the agreement, it is believed that the SAG-AFTRA union now awaits brutal AI exploitation. While the union signed the deal to offer the best protection to the professionals against the unauthorized digital simulation of their voice, it now awaits a far worse situation. 

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Meanwhile, many netizens and professionals expressed their disappointment over the deal as they pointed out that many artists do not want AI replicas of their voices, regardless of the terms. Others pointed out a lack of communication before signing the deal that made them blindsided. Amid the outcry, several users sparked concerns claiming that this agreement could lead to mass layoffs in the near future, with the surge in AI. 

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Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1617

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1500 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.