Synthetic/AI Voices

Don't lose your voice forever

NAVA & vocal variants care about your voice

our goals

  • To create a standardized definition of this type of work, implement protections for performers, and do educational outreach to the creators and users of AI/Synthetic voice technology to foster fair and equitable work for everyone.
  • To actualize legal preservation of vocal likeness and performance integrity, and identify the industry-wide risks of AI/Synthetic voice technology around vocal identity misuse and/or malpractice.
  • To educate performers and their representatives around the future implications of single or multi-use vocal replication software and/or AI/Synthetic voice automation, and amend problematic contract terms and language before they become industry-wide.
  • To create a standardized contract or set of contract clauses that properly protect against abuse and establish a baseline for acceptable rates.

Advocate For Your Contracts

Contracts for Performers Should Include:

  • Ability for the performer to consent to use.
  • Explicit limits on use of the results and proceeds of an AI/Synthetic voice and Machine Training.
  • Ability to opt out or term limits for AI/Synthetic voice use and Machine Training. 
  • Appropriate payment for use.
  • Clearly denoted exclusivity.
  • Safe Storage and tracking of the performer’s voice, likeness, performance and all products created from them.

UNION actors / anyone working under a Union contract:

Finding this or any similar language in your SAG-AFTRA contract?

  • “simulation”
  • “synthesization”
  • “digital double”
  • “machine learning”

DO NOT risk your job.  Let the Union be the enforcer.

What do if you find this or similar language in your SAG-AFTRA contract:

  1. Take the Job
  2. Report the violation to voiceover@sagaftra.org

Send a copy to the Voiceover department at SAG-AFTRA:  voiceover@sagaftra.org

The union is striking this language from contracts retroactively, but they can’t do it if they don’t know about it, so let’s make them aware.
You may also let us know that you have contacted the Union: vocalvariants@navavoices.org

 

NON-UNION Actors:

  1. Be proactive:  Ask your agent to include the NAVA AI/Synthetic voice rider (click here) or add it yourself if you are dealing with the client directly.
  2. Know your rights:  Is there a Right of Publicity in your state that protects your voice?  Check here: https://rightofpublicity.com/statutes
  3. If you come across ANY verbiage that alludes to “simulation” “synthesization” or “digital double”— or if you see any rider attached to your contract that contains suspicious language  — either work with your agent to get this language struck, or your attorney if you have one.
  4. If you are negotiating for yourself, talk with the client about not wanting this language included in your contract. Many times they may not realize it’s even in there as their attorneys are trying to include this language “just in case”.
  5. Reach out to us at vocalvariants@navavoices.org and we will do our best to guide in the right direction.

Make sure any contract you sign stipulates the following:

USAGE
How and where will your character be used? The contract must define specifically which medium your character will be used in (ie, Text-To-Speech(TTS), Interactive Voice Recording (IVR), Speech-to-Speech(STS), commercial are a few popular uses), and pay accordingly. For example, if your character is meant to be used in a narration and then it shows up in a commercial, you should absolutely know how you'll be paid for the new usage.
Term & Exclusivity
How long will your character be in use? "In perpetuity throughout the known universe" robs you of any potential future earnings. Make sure you stipulate a specific start and end date for the usage so you and your agent can renegotiate at the end of the term. Also understand if the contract makes you exclusive to a specific company, preventing you from working for anyone else in that market.  
STORAGE
How will your character be stored? Is anyone able to access it and create their own new version of a digital you? Will you be able to have any say in how your voice is used? Deep fakes are on the rise. It's important to protect your character from being used in ways the Real You might object to.
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Don’t Lose Your Voice Forever

Who are the Vocal Variants

We are a group of concerned actors who work the breadth of performance contracts and have joined together to address issues around the use of AI/Synthetic voices and performances in our industry. We have support from guilds, representatives, and performers around the world. We are made up of both union and non-union actors and/or individuals who would be solicited to and/or seek out performance work that can be used around AI/Synthetic voice technology.

 

As the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and synthetic voice technology continues to evolve and grow across the entertainment industry (and technology at large), opportunities to exploit and harm performers also multiply. Most performers exploring AI/Synthetic voice performance replication work are unaware of or do not fully understand their rights regarding employment contracts. As AI/Synthetic voice work now covers much uncharted territory, it’s imperative that we collaborate to create and amend laws and contracts to protect both laymen and professional performers against deep fakes, improper use and exploitation of recorded performances.

THIS IS NOT A UNION VERSUS NON-UNION ISSUE.

This affects ALL OF US and we want to look out for one another. If you have any questions, please reach out and we’ll help you as best we can! 

vocalvariants@navavoices.org

Spread the word

Tell your friends and colleagues about what is happening. There’s no better way to make an impact than to become an active advocate yourself.

- The Vocal Variants Team

Zeke Alton, Andy Danish, Sarah Elmaleh, David Errigo Jr, Carin Gilfry, Keythe Farley, Tim Friedlander, Cissy Jones, JP Karliak, Yuri Lowenthal, Brock Powell, Stephanie Sheh, Courtenay Taylor, Matt Waterson

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Donation

If you would like to add an additional donation, you may do so here. Donations made go to the National Association of Voice Actors Foundation. A California 501c3

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