To address key issues developed by the PGA

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

It's time for producers to think about how to protect themselves from potential copyright and ownership challenges related to the use of creative AI tools in film and TV production.

That was one of the messages delivered Saturday at the 14th annual Producers Guild of America conference in Los Angeles, which featured a day-long schedule of panels on digital disruption for content creators and others. Important issues were considered.

“I don't know if an artist I commission is using generative AI. I didn't really care before, but I guess I have to care now,” Lori McCreary, Revelations Entertainment. CEO and past president of the PGA, said during the hour-long “AI: What Every Producer Needs to Know” session moderated by Caroline Giardina, senior entertainment technology and craft editor for Variety and various types of VIP+.

Ghais Mehmood, a partner at Latham & Watkins specializing in AI-related legal issues, briefed the crowd on the complexities of where copyright protection begins and ends for content. He stressed that new rules of the road are likely to be established in the coming years as more than a dozen pending copyright cases play out in federal courts.

“I think we're shifting the sand,” Mahmoud told the audience at the Daryl F. Zanuck Theater on the Fox Studios lot. Currently, only works created by humans can be considered eligible for copyright protection. And the key legal tests at the moment depend on the level of human control and creativity to work. With the technological innovations of creative AI, powered by mind-boggling computing systems, he noted, legal eagles are eagerly awaiting a report expected from the US Copyright Office this summer. “Gives us more color on what it means to be quite creative. Controlled by a human being [make content] Copyrightable.”

Renard T. Jenkins, president of I2A2 Technologies, Labs and Studios and president of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, explained the nuances of AI and its usage terms. He stressed that the entertainment industry has a huge incentive to ensure that the AI ​​tools used in professional filmmaking are based on “clean” large language model databases – that is, those that have the appropriate consent. And are built from the ground up with copyright protection provisions. It is a way of giving human craftsmen control over technology and equipment that will have a huge impact on production.

“We should be more concerned about how the tool is used and who is using the tool than the tool itself,” Jenkins said. “We have an opportunity to take some of these tools and incorporate them into our process…we need to train artists how to use these models and build them so that they have more control over their IP.” can do.”

Variety/VIP+'s Caroline Giardina, Latham & Watkins' Ghais Mahmood, Lori McCreary and Renard T. Jenkins at the conference produced by
Jordan Strauss for the PGA

McCreary gave a personal example when the conversation turned to issues of deepfake creations involving copyrighted works or the likeness of a prominent figure, such as his Revelations Entertainment partner Morgan Freeman. Famous actors are often the target of bogus social media videos and memes. Normally, McCreary can spot a fake right away, but she was so upset a few weeks ago when she saw a video so convinced she had to call Freeman to confirm it. That it's not him.

“With this age of misinformation, it scares me,” McCreary said. “As a community, we need to move on from this.”

To that end, SMPTE and other industry organizations are working to develop metadata-based tracking systems to verify the authorship and integrity of content, Jenkins said. This effort will require a level of coordination among top producers, studios and distributors worldwide. “It's everybody in the pool and if someone is a bad actor, they get kicked out of the pool,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Stephanie Allen, owner of Homegrown Pictures and PGA President with Donald DeLine, moderated a candid session with a group of fellow veteran producers: Brad Simpson, Lynette Howell Taylor, Mike Farah and Tommy Oliver. The group agreed that the business has been a roller-coaster ride over the past year as production volume has fallen markedly after a decade of peak TV booms in Hollywood following a writers' and actors' strike. .

Elaine was also candid about her assessment of the impact of the 2020 racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd. He noted that there have been instances when executives and creators were promoted to roles they weren't prepared for, even on his own projects.

“We had to fire them,” he said, expressing his deep regret. Budget and marketplace challenges make it difficult to acquire less experienced talent. The dilemma for producers boils down to “How do you learn if you don't get a chance to fail, versus how do you protect your film? But you don't want to have an all-white crew.”

Produced by Brad Simpson, Lynette Howell-Taylor, Mike Farah and Tommy Oliver
Jordan Strauss for the PGA

Elaine stressed that bringing more diversity to Hollywood is a huge priority for the PGA, given the shrinking number of classic producers working in Hollywood.

“We're trying to keep this work — this calling — sustainable for everyone as a career,” Elaine said. Simpson (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “American Crime Story”) emphasized that producers need to be proactive in recruiting diverse crews and production teams, including visiting film schools.

“People look at the moment they're hiring and then complain that there's no one to hire,” Simpson said.

Elaine also pressed her panelists on whether they have “a line” they won't cross when it comes to working as a producer. For him, Elaine volunteers, it's projects that involve “brilliant violence — I'll follow through on it.”

Oliver, whose banner recently completed the Riz Ahmed feature rendition of “Hamlet,” said that even in his early days he had to turn down offers to work with “directors who are not good people.” I had no problem. “I've never seen a yellow flag that didn't turn into a red flag on set,” Oliver added.

Howell-Taylor offered the same when evaluating the creative merits of a project: “If you know [early on] It won't be very good, it will never be good.

Farah echoed Oliver's sentiments and stressed the importance of maintaining a good reputation in professional circles. As much as the entertainment industry has grown over the past 20 years, it's still a small community in terms of physical production. “It's not hard to get stories, good, bad and in between,” about hiring potential production crew, Farah said. “Be really serious about how you treat people. The Golden Rule works for a reason.

The conference's afternoon session opened with PGA Co-President Don Delaine moderating a discussion on the future with Greg Berlanti, Chuck Rowan and Roxanne Avent-Taylor. D-Line opened with the melancholy slogan that has gripped the city in these hard and tense times: “Live to 25.”

“As far as I can see, the biggest problem facing this industry is not economic. It's people feeling displaced and less connected, less sense of community,” said Berlanti, who also acknowledged That “everyone is talking about doing more for less. This is empirically true for us. Budgeting is popular again.

Rowan, whose production of “Oppenheimer” won the best picture Oscar this year, encouraged optimism.

“Last year, the box office was unbelievable. This year it hasn't happened yet, but we just had a really good weekend,” he said of Will Smith's latest $50 million “Bad Boys” sequel. said, referring to the opening of more. He reminded the crowd that “people want content, and they can't make it without producers.”

(Pictured above: Revelations Entertainment's Lori McCreary and I2A2 Technologies, Labs and Studios/SMPTE Of Renard T. Jenkins)

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

Leave a Comment