AB 459 mandates informed consent and proper representation for any transfer of the right to digitally replicate one’s likeness and performance
SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San José), and SAG-AFTRA, announce first of its kind legislation to regulate the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in employment contracts in the entertainment industry.
“Absent a collective bargaining agreement between the union and studios to fairly address digital replication of a performer’s work, AB 459 is an expedient legislative alternative that will protect performers’ rights from the real threat of this form of AI,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “In a world where your digital self can take your job, we need common sense requirements on these contract terms. Mandating informed consent and representation will help ensure workers are not unknowingly at risk of losing the right to their digital self, and with it, their careers and livelihoods.”
"Safeguarding an actor's digital image and likeness is a central issue for SAG-AFTRA. We believe that our members must maintain full control over the use of their digital selves through informed consent, and this is key if they are to be able to build and sustain a career," said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. "We see protection against the unjust transfers of these rights to be an imperative against potential abusive or exploitative practices. We are deeply concerned by the proliferation of AI-created audio and video content without full consent, and this legislation is an important step to ending these dangerous practices.”
Generative AI can be used to replicate or generate content based on a performer’s work, without compensation or permission from the performer. Contract clauses granting full use of a performer’s voice and likeness in perpetuity are starting to appear in the entertainment industry. In addition to union-represented actors, voice actors for media like audio books, video games, and more will be impacted. As the industry learns new ways to utilize generative AI, performers should not be exploited or manipulated into giving up the rights to their digital self. AB 459 will not prohibit the transfer of these rights in contracts, but will ensure that if performers enter into an agreement regarding the use of their digital self, it is with informed consent and representation by either a lawyer or union representative.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents California’s 25th Assembly District, which encompasses the majority of San José, including downtown and open space areas in southeast Santa Clara County. He was first elected in 2016, becoming the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history, and was re-elected to his fourth term in 2022. Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees.