Steven Beer Joins ShotlistAI’s Inaugural AI & Media Town Hall Podcast

New York, N.Y. (April 8, 2024) – New York Partner and National Chair of Lewis Brisbois' Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice Steven C. Beer recently joined ShotlistAI’s inaugural AI & Media Town Hall podcast to discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) may impact the film industry in the future. During the podcast, he provided insights into several issues including the impact on the employment marketplace, the potential resurgence of the independent film sector, the European Union’s (EU) AI Act, and current AI litigation in the United States.

Mr. Beer first discussed how the future of work in media may look in the coming years, noting, “This is a watershed moment and I think in three to five years, we are going to see seismic change.” He explained that although certain jobs – such as those in animation and post-production – could be lost, others would be gained. Mr. Beer elaborated, “Although change is difficult, I think there is plenty of reason to be optimistic. . . . In short, I think that AI could contribute to the resurgence of a sustainable ecosystem for all films, but especially for low-budget films in the independent sector where the cost of production – whether it’s for labor or for technical services – is outsized in conjunction with the marketplace where the distribution models are really under stress.”

Mr. Beer also observed that job preservation as it relates to generative AI “is a very difficult issue” and that the U.S. Government has not stepped in thus far to provide legal protections in this area. He described, “It’s really up to the labor unions and the workforce. There are many creatives outside of those unions, so they will have to fend for themselves.”

In addition, Mr. Beer discussed the impact of the EU’s AI Act, which will go into effect in 2025. He explained that companies in the U.S. that are doing business in the EU, as well as companies using large language models or databases based in the U.S., will need to pay close attention to the EU’s regulations. “The AI Act that the EU imposed is very much focused on transparency and risk. They are very emphatic that AI-generated images must be clearly marked. They are very, very sensitive about potential disinformation and deep fakes,” Mr. Beer described. He added, “Full disclosure is something that is an obligation that companies doing business in the EU will have to align with.”

Moreover, on the topic of how creators can protect their intellectual property as AI becomes more prominent, Mr. Beer noted, “That issue is under scrutiny in various high-profile litigations,” adding that the pending litigation “goes to the heart of” how copyright owners’ materials can be used through generative AI.

Mr. Beer closed his comments with guarded optimism concerning generative AI, stating that it may “potentially reinvigorate the independent film sector but also give studios a shot at staying in the game.” He explained, “AI offers an opportunity to compress budgets, an opportunity for independent filmmakers and producers . . . to make more challenging content because the budgets and the risk will be reduced. So, I am excited about the kind of storytelling that is around the corner as these technologies become more reliable and available.”

Mr. Beer concentrates his practice on film, television, and music matters. He represents industry-leading film, television, and music companies and has acted as counsel to numerous award-winning writers, directors, producers, and multi-platinum musical artists. Mr. Beer regularly negotiates rights deals for film and television projects, and is the co-host of Periscope, Lewis Brisbois' Entertainment Law podcast.

View the full podcast here and learn more about Lewis Brisbois’ Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice here.

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