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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission staff hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on October 4, 2023 from 3 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. ET to better understand the impact of generative artificial intelligence on creative fields. 

AI tools that can generate text, images, and audio, often referred to as generative artificial intelligence, have captured the public’s attention in the past year. The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to better understand how these tools may impact open and fair competition or enable unlawful business practices across markets, including in creative industries. 

The roundtable discussion, which was composed of members from a variety of creative fields, explored the ways that these emerging tools are reshaping each of the participants’ respective industries and how they are responding to these changes.

  • Agenda

    Wednesday, October 4

    3:00 p.m.

    Remarks from FTC Chair Lina M. Khan

    3:05 p.m.

    Remarks from FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter

    3:10 p.m.

    Remarks from OT, Madeleine Varner, Office of Technology, FTC

    3:13 p.m.

    Roundtable Remarks

    John August, Writers Guild of America West  
    Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Magazine 
    Bradley M. Kuhn, Software Freedom Conservancy 
    Umair Kazi, Authors Guild 
    Douglas Preston, Author 
    Duncan Crabtree-Ireland,  SAG-AFTRA 
    Tim Friedlander, National Association of Voice Actors 
    Sara Ziff, Model Alliance   
    Karla Ortiz, Concept Artist 
    Steven Zapata, Concept Art Association   
    John K. Painting, American Federation of Musicians   
    Jen Jacobsen, Artist Rights Alliance   

    4:15 p.m.

    Moderated Discussion led by Madeleine Varner

    4:35 p.m.

    Closing Remarks from FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya

    4:40 p.m.


  • John August is a screenwriter and  member of the Negotiating Committee for Writers Guild of America West (WGA), a labor union representing thousands of members who write content for motion pictures, television, news and online media. He is a Negotiating Committee Member at WGA West and was a former board member of WGA. John is a screenwriter whose credits include Big Fish, Aladdin, Corpse Bride and Charlie’s Angels. He also wrote the Broadway musical Big Fish, and the Arlo Finch novel trilogy.  He lives in Los Angeles.  

    Neil Clarke is the multi-award-winning editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, a science fiction and fantasy magazine, and over a dozen anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. An eleven-time finalist and the 2022 winner of the Hugo Award for Best Editor Short Form, he is also the three-time winner of the Chesley Award for Best Art Director. In 2019, Clarke received the SFWA Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award for distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community. 

    Duncan Crabtree-Ireland is the National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator at SAG-AFTRA, the most distinguished entertainment and media union in the world. In this capacity, he oversees the world’s largest and most influential entertainment union, comprised of more than 160,000 members worldwide who work in film, television, broadcast news, commercials, music, video games and more. Crabtree-Ireland has played a critical role in many of SAG-AFTRA’s signature achievements over the past two decades, both in his current role and prior to that as longtime chief operating officer and general counsel. Crabtree-Ireland is a strategic and creative lead negotiator, and has personally led or overseen negotiations for SAG-AFTRA’s Netflix Agreement and its Videogames, Commercials, Music and Network Television contracts, among others. Crabtree-Ireland leads the union’s technology and innovation team.He is also the co-host of the SAG-AFTRA Podcast and the SAG-AFTRA Podcast en Español.  

    Tim Friedlander is President and Founder at National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA), a non-profit association created to advocate and promote the advancement of the voice acting industry through action, education, inclusion and benefits. Tim is a Los Angeles based voice actor, studio owner, advocate, and educator. He is the voice of the PBR Summer Series (Professional Bull Riders) on CBS and the English voice of Ares in the Netflix show Record of Ragnarok. As owner of the soundBOX:Group, a voice over centric studio group with 3 locations, Tim has consistently provided safe space for voice actors to train, learn, and work. Tim is co-founder and President of The National Association of Voice Actors and in 2023, helped found United Voice Artists, an 18 nation, 36 member Federation of global voice over associations.    

    Jen Jacobsen is Executive Director of the Artist Rights Alliance, an artist-led organization advocating for musicians to receive fair treatment and compensation in the digital marketplace. She was previously the Executive Director of Kid Pan Alley (KPA), an arts non-profit that teaches songwriting in schools. A 25-year music industry veteran, Jen served as Vice President, Industry and Government Relations, for Sony Music Entertainment and Vice President, Global Public Policy for Time Warner, Inc. Jen received her B.A. in History from Yale University, and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a graduate of the Nashville-based Leadership Music program and a lifelong musician. 

    Umair Kazi is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Authors Guild, the oldest and largest professional writers’ organization in the United States, where he develops and advances initiatives supporting writers' interests. His work encompasses copyright, AI, labor, antitrust, and free expression issues. Umair previously served as the Guild’s Staff Attorney, counseling members on professional legal matters. Umair is also a writer and a translator from Urdu. He holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. 

    Bradley M. Kuhn is the Policy Fellow at Software Freedom Conservancy, a nonprofit organization centered around ethical technology. Kuhn began work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992 — as an early adopter of Linux-based systems, and contributor to various Free and Open Source (FOSS) Software projects, including Perl.  Kuhn has industry experience as a computer systems administrator, a software developer, and a high school Computer Science teacher. Kuhn has been lauded with multiple awards for his lifelong work in enforcement and compliance of copyleft FOSS licenses (such as the GPL).  Kuhn holds an M.S. and summa-cum-laude B.S. in Computer Science.  

    Karla Ortiz is a Puerto Rican, internationally recognized, award-winning artist. With her exceptional design sense, realistic renders, and character-driven narratives, Karla has contributed to many high profile film and TV productions, including Jurassic World, World of Warcraft, Rogue One:A Star Wars Story, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, The Eternals, Loki, HBO’s The Nevers and most notably, her design of Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange.  Karla’s work is also recognized in the fine art world, showcasing her figurative and mysterious art in notable galleries, such as Spoke Art and Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, Nucleus Gallery, Thinkspace and Maxwell Alexander Gallery in LA, and Galerie Arludik in Paris. She currently lives in San Francisco with her cat, Bady.  

    John K. Painting is the Director of the Electronic Media Services Division and Assistant to the President for the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), the largest union of musicians in the world. Painting has worked in Electronic Media since he began his career at AFM Local 802 (New York City) in 2011. In May 2019, Painting was hired by the Federation as EMSD Assistant Director, working under former EMSD Director Pat Varriale. During that time, Painting was responsible for the administration of the National Public Television Agreement as well as a wide variety of special projects, most notably contracts pertaining to the rapidly shifting world of Internet streaming since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Both at the Local and Federation level, Painting has been regularly involved on the bargaining team for EMSD contract negotiations over the last decade. He also sits on the AFM’s Education Committee and has worked to create new and updated educational content to better explain Electronic Media Services agreements to both musicians and employers. 

    Douglas Preston is the author of 38 books, of which 32 have been New York Times bestsellers, some reaching the # 1 position. Two of his novels, co-written with Lincoln Child, were chosen in a National Public Radio poll of 17,000 readers as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written. His recent nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, is being made into a television series. Preston worked as an editor at the American Museum of Natural History and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He served as president of the Authors Guild from 2019 to 2023. 

    Steven Zapata is an American artist with 12 years of experience in commercial design, illustration, and art education. He has contributed to video games and movies such as The Elder Scrolls Online and Disney’s Noelle. Steven has also designed theme parks and experiences both domestically and abroad including the USA Pavilion for World Expo 2020, Warner Bros. World in Abu Dhabi, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. He has also taught design and storytelling at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and has a YouTube channel where he shares his love of drawing with students from across the globe.  

    Sara Ziff is the founder and executive director of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit research, policy and advocacy organization for people who work in the fashion industry. At the Model Alliance, she established the first industry-specific support line for fashion workers and played a leading role assisting survivors during the #MeToo movement. Sara has successfully championed legislation to advance workers’ rights and protections, and she is currently working to pass the Fashion Workers Act in New York State. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and her M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

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