SAG-AFTRA Members Overwhelmingly Approve TV Animation Agreement

SAG-AFTRA members today ratified the 2023 Television Animation Agreement and the 2023 Basic Cable Animation Agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The new three-year contracts were overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 95.52% to 4.48%.

At the end of February, the guild’s executive committee had sent the 2023 contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to all members for ratification.

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According to SAG, the new three-year contract benefits from some of the gains made in the TV/Theatrical Contract, which the union went on strike for 118 days to achieve. Particularly, the guild highlighted the artificial intelligence protections in the animation agreement.

The new contract includes language denoting voice actors as “only humans” and also established regular, mandatory artificial intelligence meetings with producers, which will include discussion of methods and systems to track the use of digital replicas.

Here are more of the key points of the deal related to AI:

  • Removed the requirement that a digital replica must exclusively sound like the recognizable natural voice of an actor in order to be protected.

    • “Employment-based digital replicas,” need only be recognized and identifiable via contracts and other regular business documents, confirming that it was in fact the performer’s voice used to make the replica.

    • “Independently created digital replicas” need only sound like the “character voice” from which the replica was created.

    • Confirmation that if the voice actor’s performance is digitally altered into a foreign language, the voice actor shall be eligible for residuals based on the distribution of the foreign language version.

  • When prompting a generative artificial intelligence system with a performer name or names, consent of those performers is required. The contract removes the requirement, which exists in live action, that a “major facial feature” be included in the prompt with no substitute for that criterion.

Read more about the deal here.

“We were able to ride the wave of our strike victory to secure a better deal for members. That momentum paid off in terms of substantial wage increases, more than $3 million in back pay, two new holidays and the first SAG-AFTRA animation voiceover contract with artificial intelligence protections and gains,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

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