Actors’ union, Equity, has launched a new AI toolkit to protect performers from the growing use of AI across the entertainment industry.

The toolkit was produced in response to the “huge” increase in members contacting the union to “seek advice, support and legal representation alongside the government’s decision to introduce “light touch” regulation with a voluntary code of practice on Copyright and AI.”

The new AI toolkit includes a template AI contract to protect Artists engaging with performance cloning work,  clauses to protect Artists from having their performance cloned without their consent and a template take-down notice to tackle intellectual property infringement by platforms and websites.

The union’s AI toolkit is launched as the government is developing industry guidance on how to regulate AI and consulting on their pro-innovation approach outlined in the recent AI White Paper. Equity will be submitting evidence about the urgent to need to strengthen performers’ intellectual property rights. Alongside the launch of the toolkit, Equity is working with broadcasters, producers, and streamers, to “ensure that performers’ rights are recognised and protected, and their image, voice and likeness is protected by GDPR.”

Commenting on the launch of the toolkit, Equity’s Industrial Official for New Media, Liam Budd said: “With use of AI on the rise across the entertainment industries, Equity is taking action and giving our members the tools they need to safeguard their legal rights. We are proud to be leading the way by producing a ground-breaking template AI contract and setting out new industry standards. Whilst Equity will continue to engage with producers across the entertainment industries, the government needs to step in with robust measures to properly regulate the growing use of AI.

Dr Mathilde Pavis, intellectual property expert, said: “The UK legal framework is not well designed to protect performers from unauthorised imitations of their work using AI technology.  The Equity toolkit is a very good, but temporary, solution to protect performers until the UK Government reforms the law. We hope the government puts forward artist-centred and workable proposals for reform, going beyond voluntary codes of conduct. Having a clear legal framework on AI-generated performances makes for better business for all involved: performers, producers, content distributors, AI companies, and the consumer.”

Jon Creamer

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