In January 2024, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Replica Studios announced an agreement that allows SAG-AFTRA members to license their digital voice replicas for internal research and development purposes and for use in video games for scripted content, including both principals and atmospheric dialogue. Specifically excluded is AI-generated situational dialogue, which is subject to separate negotiation.
A “Digital Voice Replica” is a Voice Model trained on recordings of a specific individual(s) and has individually identifiable unique characteristics. The Republic Agreement is an agreement with a single entity, rather than an industry collective bargaining agreement. Further, this agreement is separate from the Interactive Media Agreement (which directly covers performances in video games, and under which AI terms continue to be negotiated). SAG/AFTRA believes this agreement to be “groundbreaking,” as it purports to provide new revenue streams for actors and because it addresses new and novel considerations related to digital recreation and the use of a performer’s voice that is not present in connection with work performed live.
The Replica Agreement is made up of two parts:
(1) A “development” agreement, which sets terms for the initial creation of digital voice replicas and Replica Studios’ own internal use of the replicas (such as for development and demonstration purposes)
(2) A “licensing and external use” agreement that governs how Replica Studios and its clients can use the replicas to create video games
Compensation under the Replica Agreement is based on the provisions of the current Interactive Media Agreement. The agreement also covers using pre-existing recordings of a performer, including a deceased performer, to create a digital replica.
SAG-AFTRA touted a variety of terms included within the Agreement intended to protect its actors, including:
- Transparency around the content a digital replica will be used to create
- Performer consent for use of their replica in any new project
- Limitations on the amount of time a performer’s replica can be made available without further payment and consent
- Limits on confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
- Data security protections, including for the digital voice replica