Voice database GDPR-safe

The reality of voice data processing in the audiovisual industry

At a time when personal data collection and exploitation had become a thriving online industry, it was urgent for Europe to adopt and implement strict legislation in order to protect the privacy of its citizens. After adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, corporate compliance has been mandatory in all European states since May 25, 2019.

While many incorrectly interpreted GDPR as only targeting GAFA or other multi-national companies specializing in data collection and and the monetization via ultra-targeted marketing activities, the widespread fines and sanctions the EU has dealt out over the last few months have proved otherwise. Put simply, no matter the activity or industry, the quantity or type of personal data a company is holding, using or processing, and for whatever reason…start-ups, small to large size organisations and multi-national, companies are equally subject to all articles outlined in GDPR. The audio-visual industry is a sector that isn’t insensitive to the advent of GDPR.

Indeed, it’s a sector where large volumes of data-voice circulates without any official structure or tracking. Voice samples are used as CVs in the dubbing and voiceover sector. While large production companies may have internal and centralized casting databases, the majority of the audiovisual industry does not. Today, industry voice samples are stored on computers, hard drives, clouds, inboxes and mobile phones. Not only does this imply hours, days, and weeks of time wasted locating, filtering and sharing samples for castings, but more importantly, the personal voice data is not being held, used or processed in compliance with GDPR. Castings for dubbing and voiceover roles often entail sharing 15-20 voice samples for each role.

This is how a casting typically runs:

FINAL CLIENTS:

  • Large production companies or brands which contract production companies all over the world to produce dubbings of their films, ads, audio books, video games, advertisements, documentaries, etc. In each of these countries, the production companies select an artistic director.

ARTISTIC DIRECTORS:

  • Run a studio casting with shortlisted voice actors OR search their private voice sample base for previously recorded voice samples from other projects that highlight similar roles to the ones they’re casting on their current project.

PRODUCTION COMPANY:

  • Artistic directors then send a proposition of 3 actors on average, for each role to the production company that include voice samples for each actor and each role; first and last name of each actor; and additional contact information (telephone, address, email…).

FINAL CLIENT:

  • Production companies then send these elements to final clients all over the world to get their preferences and validation for actors and roles. Sometimes producers hide the names of actors, but they send voice samples every time.

As many production team members, such as artistic directors and localized production companies, are sub-contracted, voice personal data GDPR compliance is not managed or monitored by key stakeholders and final clients are not guaranteed that the casting process for final products has been 100% GDPR compliant. In simple words, the lack of transparency and structure puts them, along with all project contributors, at risk of sanctions and fines as high as €20M or 4% of their global revenues.

At a time when personal data collection and exploitation had become a thriving online industry, it was urgent for Europe to adopt and implement strict legislation in order to protect the privacy of its citizens. After adopting the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, corporate compliance has been mandatory in all European states since May 25, 2019.

Disclaimer: All data and information provided in this blog post are for informational purposes only. Mediartis makes no representation as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or validity of the information contained in this document. We recommend that you consult a lawyer for any legal advice regarding the respect of data protection.



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