April 19, 2024
WGA strike as leaders approve a groundbreaking deal with Hollywood studios
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WGA Strike Wraps Up: AI’s Role Defined in Hollywood Studios Deal

The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike is on the verge of concluding after its leaders have given their approval to a tentative agreement with Hollywood entertainment studios. This deal, which signifies the end of a nearly five-month strike that commenced on May 2, 2023, was officially announced at 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, as reported by Deadline.

A central point of contention during the strike, alongside demands for higher wages and fairer contracts, revolved around the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry. In August, Hollywood Studios presented a proposal regarding AI usage to the striking writers and actors, although it failed to meet the satisfaction of either guild.

The terms outlined in the agreed-upon tentative deal between the WGA state that the AI is incapable of authoring or revising literary content, and AI-generated material will not be recognized as source material.
According to Deadline, this stipulation ensures that AI-generated content cannot be employed to diminish a writer’s credit. The deal also specifies that a writer can opt to use AI in the execution of writing services if the company consents and as long as the writer adheres to applicable company policies. However, the company cannot compel the writer to employ AI software when providing writing services.

Ellen Stutzman, one of the leaders of the WGA, remarked that the terms related to AI were initial issues that studios had refused to negotiate prior to the strike. Additionally, companies are obligated to be transparent with writers regarding the use of AI-generated content in their work or its incorporation into a project. The WGA asserts that it retains the right to contend that the exploitation of writers’ material for training AI is prohibited by the MBA or other legal provisions.

These recent agreements pertain specifically to the WGA, one of the two entertainment unions involved in the strike. The other union, SAG-AFTRA, represents actors and various other media professionals. This union joined forces with the WGA on July 14, 2023, and is presently still engaged in the strike.

SAG-AFTRA is similarly concerned about the role of AI. The studios’ AI proposal suggested the scanning of background performers, who would receive compensation for only a single day’s work. Consequently, the companies would gain full ownership over the scan, including the performers’ image and likeness, which has become a contentious issue in their ongoing strike.

Image by freepik

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