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Producers wanted to seek the rights to AI extras forever at just $200

Producers wanted to seek the rights to AI extras forever at just $200

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that generative AI poses an ‘existential threat’ to actors.

As SAG-AFTRA’s strike begins, the union has revealed that Hollywood producers tried to seek the rights to use the likeness of extras.

And all for a measly $200.

The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) said they had dismissed the offer tabled by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), as per The Register.

Yikes, this is a little too Black Mirror for me.

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the technology would be ‘groundbreaking’ but not in a good way.

Mike Powell/Getty Images

“They proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day's pay, and their companies should own that scan – their image, their likeness – and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want, with no consent and no compensation,” he said, according to the outlet.

According to Backstage, background actors usually get paid $100-200 daily.

So for roughly the same amount, studios have their likeness forever? It's really just peanuts.

"Actors deserve a contract that reflects the changes that have taken place in the industry," added Crabtree-Ireland.

"Currently the streaming model has undercut performers' residual income and high inflation has reduced members' ability to make ends meet," he continued.

Crabtree-Ireland went on to say that the generative AI poses an ‘existential threat’ to the livelihood of actors.

Fran Drescher, The former The Nanny star who currently serves as SAG-AFTRA president, also warned against it, adding the whole industry is being shaken up by AI.

Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images/Getty Images

“This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble,” Drescher said during a press conference last week.

“We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business who cares more about Wall St than you and your family.”

John Cusack also took to Twitter following the commencement of SAG-AFTRA’s strike, condemning studios’ use of AI to remove acting jobs.

“Studios wanna have extras work one day, scan them – own their likeness forever – and eliminate them from the business,” Cusack wrote.

“Do you think they will stop with extras? That’s what AI is – a giant Copyright identity theft.”

Featured Image Credit: Michael Kai/Getty Images. Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Topics: Film and TV, News, SAG-AFTRA Writers Strike