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CAA Partners with Veritone to Safeguard Stars’ Digital Identities

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 21, 2024
Hollywood Agency CAA Aims to Help Stars Manage Their Own AI Likenesses

CAA Partners with Veritone to Safeguard Stars’ Digital Identities

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a prominent talent agency in Hollywood, is taking a significant step towards protecting the digital identities of its clients through a new initiative aimed at managing their AI likenesses.

The agency has partnered with AI technology company Veritone to develop “theCAAvault,” a secure digital asset management system. This system allows CAA’s roster of A-list talent—which includes actors, athletes, directors, musicians, and comedians—to store crucial digital assets such as names, images, digital scans, voice recordings, and other related data.

Addressing AI Misuse Concerns

The move by CAA comes in response to the growing issue of unauthorized use of celebrities’ digital likenesses, highlighted by incidents like an AI-generated video of Tom Hanks being used without his consent to promote a dental plan.

This misuse of AI technology has raised significant concerns within the industry, prompting CAA to create a platform where its clients can securely store their digital doubles and control how these assets are utilized and monetized.

Shannon, CAA’s head of strategic development, outlined the challenges faced by celebrities due to the current legal framework which she believes is inadequate to protect their digital rights effectively. She noted a surge in misuse of client’s digital assets and pointed out the proliferation of open lawsuits as a testament to the need for better protective measures. Shannon explained that theCAAvault not only offers a storage solution but also sets a precedent for consent-based use of AI, placing control firmly in the hands of the celebrities themselves.

Ensuring Secure Access and Fair Compensation

The vault ensures that any access to the digital assets is strictly controlled, with authorization required for each user, thus providing a way for talent to share and monetize their content securely.

Shannon emphasized that this approach allows for the establishment of clear legal boundaries, making it easier to address infringements and protect clients’ rights over time. She also highlighted that this system is designed to ensure that actors and other talents are compensated appropriately when companies use their digital likenesses.

Further discussions within the industry focus on the broader implications of AI cloning technology. The 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes, which ended with a new agreement between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), brought the issue of digital replicas to the forefront. The agreement recognized the essential role of human performers and established guidelines for the use of digital replicas in productions.

The ethical use of AI clones, particularly of deceased celebrities, has also sparked debates. For instance, Robin Williams’ daughter voiced her disapproval of an AI-generated voice recording featuring the star. CAA addresses these concerns by ensuring that any use of a deceased celebrity’s likeness is handled with consent from the controlling estates, aligning with ethical standards and respecting the wishes of the artists and their families.

Shannon declined to disclose the specifics regarding which of CAA’s clients have already started using the vault or the exact cost of participation. However, she mentioned that while the service is currently available to only a select few, the long-term goal is to make it accessible to all agency clients and possibly extend it across the industry. She acknowledges that while the costs are high at the moment, they are expected to decrease over time, increasing the feasibility of widespread adoption.

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Featured Image courtesy of Mario Tama/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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