Hollywood sign

Hollywood Union deal requires consent and approval for AI voice use

Entertainment industry workers concerned with the unauthorized use of their voices by artificial intelligence (AI) have struck a preliminary deal with Warner Music Group (NASDAQ: WMG), Sony Music Entertainment, and other record labels.

In addition to higher minimum wages and better benefits, the deal requires consent and compensation for songs featuring digital replicas of artists’ voices.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) represents approximately 160,000 actors and media personnel. It said that the “Sound Recordings Agreement” covers 2021-2026 and has received unanimous approval from the executive committee. Members will likely vote to ratify it in the next few weeks.

Growing concern about AI usage of data without consent

There’s little doubt that AI is the next big thing. Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, there has been a widespread proliferation of AI models of all kinds, including generative ones for text, images, and video.

It didn’t take long before writers, photographers, actors, singers, and artists of all kinds sounded the alarm about AI models’ unauthorized use of their work. Already, there are a few interesting lawsuits related to this issue, including one by several prominent authors against OpenAI.

However, with the unstoppable torrent of open-source AI tools enabling the generation of everything from fake Drake songs to deep nudes of Taylor Swift, it’s already tough to police unauthorized AI use of copyrighted materials, IP, and even everyday people’s images, voices, and work.

Could blockchain technology help? As it happens, it can do so in several ways.

How blockchain technology can help tame AI

Thinking of blockchains as immutable ledgers and distributed databases helps clarify what role they can play in solving problems related to AI. The time-stamped records written to blockchains cannot be changed by anyone without the majority consensus of network nodes, creating total transparency about what happened, when, and who took the actions.

Digital Rights Management: Secure, transparent digital rights management solutions like Rare Generation showcase how works of art can be tokenized on blockchains and can carry terms of use, ownership, and distribution rights. It can also ensure artists are paid on an ongoing basis via micropayments for the use of work they own or have contributed to.

Proof of Authorship: Anyone can register work on the blockchain. This, in turn, can act as a key piece of evidence proving ownership and authorship at a specific point in time. While the first person to register something is not necessarily the rightful legal owner, having proof that one possessed a work of art at a given time strengthens the case for ownership. If AI is found to be plagiarizing or misusing it, then legal action can be taken.

Monitoring and Enforcement: The ultimate use case for blockchain technology would be integrating with AI, the internet, and other technologies to monitor for the unauthorized use of copyrighted or protected content, such as artists’ voices and images. Violations could be time-stamped, warnings or notifications issued automatically, and actions such as requesting compensation could be taken.

Smart Contracts: Artists concerned with how record labels, movie studios, and other entertainment companies might use their images and voices can utilize smart contracts to ensure their terms are enforced automatically. The immutable ledger can also be used to prove agreed terms, automate royalty payments, revoke rights, and prove misuse.

While specific blockchain tools exist for some of these use cases, others will need to be built. In any case, scalable utility blockchains can be a useful tool for enforcing rights and mitigating misuse in the age of AI.

In order for artificial intelligence (AI) to work right within the law and thrive in the face of growing challenges, it needs to integrate an enterprise blockchain system that ensures data input quality and ownership—allowing it to keep data safe while also guaranteeing the immutability of data. Check out CoinGeek’s coverage on this emerging tech to learn more why Enterprise blockchain will be the backbone of AI.

Watch: AI is for ‘augmenting’ not replacing the workforce

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.