The WGA strike has finally come to a close, and it’s not just good news for the writers but also for those concerned about the rise of AI in creative industries. After more than half a year of halted work and intense negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to officially lift its strike order. Starting from 12:01 AM PT on September 27, writers can officially return to their creative endeavors, pending the final ratification vote.
The reason behind this prolonged strike was not just about better contracts but also concerns about the encroachment of generative AI into the realm of writing. The negotiations between the WGA and producers revolved around various issues, but one of the central points of contention was the use of AI in the creative process.
Now, as the dust settles, the WGA has unveiled the key terms of its new contract, and it’s clear that protections against generative AI have taken center stage. To begin with, the contract explicitly prohibits the use of generative AI to create or rewrite literary material. Anything produced by AI cannot be considered source material for writers. However, it does leave room for writers to opt for AI assistance, but only with the consent of the company or studio. Importantly, studios are now unable to mandate the use of AI software like ChatGPT for their writers. Transparency is also a key component, as studios must disclose whether any materials handed over to writers were generated by AI. Additionally, the contract explicitly forbids the “exploitation of writers’ material to train AI.”
But that’s not all; writers are also benefiting in other ways. They’re getting a boost in pay, increased pension and health contributions, and improved payment and residuals for streaming projects. Notably, foreign streaming residuals will now be tied to the number of subscribers for services available globally, while domestic projects’ residuals will be based on the hours streamed by U.S. subscribers. This new contract is set to remain in effect for three years, until May 1, 2026.
While the WGA strike has reached its conclusion, it’s worth noting that SAG-AFTRA’s strike is still ongoing. In fact, the group recently voted in favor of a strike authorization for performers in the video game industry. This move aims to provide additional leverage in their negotiations with video game producers. The battle for fair contracts in the entertainment industry continues on multiple fronts, and the outcome will have significant implications for the future of these creative professions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI protections in writing contracts
What was the main reason behind the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike mentioned in the text?
The main reason for the WGA strike was the demand for a better contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), with a key point of contention being the use of generative AI in the creative writing process.
What protections are included in the new contract regarding the use of generative AI?
The new contract explicitly prohibits the use of generative AI to create or rewrite literary material. Anything generated by AI cannot be considered source material for writers. While writers can choose to use AI with consent, studios cannot mandate AI software usage like ChatGPT. Studios must also disclose if any materials given to writers were created by AI. Additionally, the “exploitation of writers’ material to train AI” is forbidden.
What other benefits do writers gain from the new contract?
Writers will receive higher pay, increased pension and health contributions, and improved payment and residuals for streaming projects. Foreign streaming residuals will be based on global subscriber numbers, while domestic project residuals will be tied to U.S. subscriber streaming hours.
How long will the new contract between WGA and AMPTP be valid?
The new contract will remain in effect for three years, until May 1, 2026.
Is the strike by the Writers Guild of America the only ongoing labor dispute in the entertainment industry?
No, while the WGA strike has concluded, SAG-AFTRA’s strike is still ongoing. They have also voted in favor of a strike authorization for performers working in the video game industry to strengthen their position in negotiations with video game producers.
More about AI protections in writing contracts
- Writers Guild of America (WGA): Official website of the Writers Guild of America for updates and official statements.
- Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP): Official website of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for insights into their role in negotiations.
- Generative AI: Learn more about generative AI and its applications.
- SAG-AFTRA: Official website of SAG-AFTRA, the labor union for performers, for updates on their ongoing strike and negotiations.
- Video Game Industry Labor Dispute: Additional information on SAG-AFTRA’s strike authorization vote in the video game industry.