The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal are both keeping an eye on a New York state legislation that would stop them from using a tax break if they use AI in place of film and TV workers.
Zach Williams with Bloomberg Law writes that both companies have hired lobbyists to monitor the bill, which is Senate Bill 7422, sponsored by New York Senator Lea Webb (D). The bill “prohibits applicants of the empire state film production credit from using artificial intelligence that would displace any natural person in their productions.” It was introduced just before the legislative session ended in June 2023.
AI is a major point of contention during the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Both actors and writers are worried about being replaced or replicated by AI, putting them out of a job or violating their consent.
Assemblymember Demond Meeks (D) said it doesn’t surprise him the media companies are paying close attention to the bill. “Big business tends to look for quick ways to save money,” he said, “and, you know, this may be another means of that.”
Since the beginning of 2022, NBCUniversal has received $96.7 million in tax credits for 14 New York productions, including “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Disney received $10.9 million for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “Monster Island” season one.
Disney and NBCUniversal haven’t taken public positions on the legislation.
“As is standard,” a Disney spokesperson said, “we track, monitor and review any bills introduced that could potentially impact our business, and in compliance with New York State law, we transparently report those information-gathering efforts in our lobbying disclosures.”