SAG-AFTRA Mandates Consent, Pay for AI Use of Actor Voices in Ads

SAG-AFTRA's new waiver permits the use of an actor’s voice in AI-generated commercials but requires consent, compensation and security measures

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

June 7, 2024

2 Min Read
A microphone and pop filter in a recording studio
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Actors union SAG-AFTRA has introduced a new waiver to protect members from unauthorized AI use of their voices in commercials.

The Dynamic A.I. Audio Commercials Waiver defines protective terms for the use of members’ voices when companies create digital replicas for audio commercials.

The waiver mandates that performers give informed consent before creating their digital voice replica, with further consent required for its use in advertisements.

Voice actors will be reimbursed $550 for each AI-created commercial, including multiple versions and revisions. Additionally, actors will receive an extra 50% of a one-session fee ($275) per commercial for customization elements using the digital voice replica.

Companies can purchase the right to use the digital voice replica an unlimited number of times within a set time frame, with fees ranging from $385 for four weeks to $1,210 for one year.

The waiver applies exclusively to digital audio commercials, such as voice-overs for streaming platforms or podcast commercials, not to standard audio commercials for radio.

The waiver also stipulates that companies using a digital replica of a voice actor must employ security measures to prevent unauthorized use by third parties. 

Performers retain the right to opt out of having their voice used at any time. All copies and recordings of an actor’s voice must be deleted after the maximum period of use unless otherwise agreed.

Related:Actors Sue AI Voice Generator for Unauthorized Use of Their Voices

SAG-AFTRA’s new waiver is aimed at protecting its members from the increasing use of AI in the industry. The union secured protections earlier this year to ensure actors are fairly compensated if their voices are used to create AI-generated voice clones or deepfakes.

The waiver’s protections are important as high-profile cases of unauthorized voice use by AI companies continue to surface. Recently, OpenAI had to remove one of ChatGPT's new voice options after actor Scarlett Johansson claimed the company used her voice without permission. In another case, a group of actors sued Lovo, an AI voice generator company, alleging the unauthorized use of their voices.

“This agreement furthers the union’s goal of ensuring that whenever AI is used in ways that impact SAG-AFTRA members, appropriate protections, informed consent and proper compensation are always required,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator.
The actor’s union previously signed a deal with AI startup Replica to allow its members to create and license digital versions of their voices.

Related:AI Protections Secured for Animation Voice Actors

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ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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