SAG-AFTRA ratified new contracts for voice actors working in television animation after member votes were more than 95 percent in favor of the terms. The three-year agreements introduce new protections around the use of AI, including a requirement that producers obtain an actor’s consent before using their name as a prompt to create an AI-generated voice. SAG-AFTRA announced the approval of the contracts Friday night. They will be in force until June 30, 2026.

The new contracts, “the term ‘voice actor’ includes only humans.” The contracts also outline voice actors’ rights regarding studios’ use of their digital voices and require producers to notify and bargain with the union whenever they use AI-generated voices, instead of voice actors. “This is the first SAG-AFTRA animation voice-over contract with AI abuse protection,” Television Animation Negotiating Committee co-chairs Bob Bergen and David Jolliffe said in a statement.

SAG-AFTRA executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the agreement “represents a significant step forward in expanding our AI protections,” along with providing “important new terms in foreign residuals, big-budget SVOD [subscription video-on-demand] productions, late payments and much more. The contracts establish a series of wage increases, starting with a 7 percent increase on July 1, 2023, for which participants will receive retroactive payments. This will be followed by a 4% increase on July 1 this year and a 3.5% increase next year.

The union announced earlier this year that it had reached a deal with AI voice generation company Replica Studios to give voice actors a way to “safely” license their digital voice copies for video games. AI protection was also a crucial component of the strike-ending deal SAG-AFTRA reached with Hollywood studios late last year.