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DGA Member Update Regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Directors Guild of America

May 17, 2023

Directors and their teams, along with our industry collaborators, have expressed serious, legitimate concerns about the potential uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in our industry. We want to reassure you that the DGA shares these concerns and wishes to inform you of our current efforts as we ensure the protection of the unique and indispensable roles of DGA members.

There is no substitute for the creativity, drive and passion that Directors and their teams bring to set every day. Humanity, creative innovation and individuality are essential to making great art and fueling the global success of our industry.

The potential use of AI in our industry is new and much is still unknown. We are committed to learning as much as we can about AI’s possible impact on your work so we can firmly protect the role and vision of Directors and their teams — just like we have with each new technological development in our history. We are looking at all avenues to protect the rights of our members including taking an active approach on multiple fronts to establish further protections for Directors and their teams, as follows:

We have established a DGA working group made up of prominent Directors, Assistant Directors, UPMs, Associate Directors and Stage Managers. This Committee will meet with external experts to thoroughly research the issues that impact our members and propose meaningful solutions;

We are engaged and in active communication with the U.S. Copyright Office and members of Congress regarding this issue – including a DGA representative appearing on a U.S. Copyright Office panel on May 17, 2023.

Most importantly, we want you to know that our existing agreements already provide Directors and their teams with important protections against the impact of AI on their work. Some of the many provisions include:

A Director must be a person, and only that person is permitted to direct.

Only the Director employed on the project may direct, as that term is commonly understood in our industry. The “Director's professional function is unique, and requires his or her participation in all creative phases of the filmmaking process, including but not limited to all creative aspects of sound and picture. The Director works directly with all of the elements which constitute the variegated texture of a unit of film entertainment or information.”

Our contract provides that the Director is responsible for presenting “his or her cut of the motion picture” (the Director’s Cut) to the company.

“Cutting behind” a Director is strictly prohibited, and our agreement makes clear this prohibition includes editing by electronic means. Importantly, our contract expressly provides that “technological changes whether now known or not” may not be used to limit or affect the Director’s right to prepare his or her Director’s Cut.

Our agreements also include mandatory staffing requirements that require the employment of Unit Production Managers, Assistant Directors, Stage Managers, and Associate Directors that do not provide any exceptions for the use of technology.

Enforcement of both our existing contract provisions and copyright law are critical to ensuring these hard-won rights are protected. To this end, our Guild is working aggressively on these issues.

Since our Guild was founded in 1936, we have fiercely protected the role and vision of Directors and their teams throughout numerous periods of technological change and you have our word that we will continue to do so.

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