After nearly five months, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has finally reached a resolution with Hollywood studios to end the writers strike. Effective from Wednesday, writers can now resume work based on the conditions outlined in their new contract. Throughout the strike, one major point of contention between the writers and studios involved the use of AI. While AI tools like ChatGPT have limitations in terms of creativity, writers were concerned that studios might exploit these evolving technologies to avoid paying union members. However, the WGA’s new contract addresses this issue by setting limitations on how AI can be utilized in writers’ rooms.
Under the new agreement, AI is prohibited from writing or rewriting scripts, and any AI-generated writing cannot be deemed as source material. This ensures that writers do not lose writing credits due to AI interference. Writers have the individual choice to use AI tools if they wish, but companies cannot impose specific AI tools on writers during production. Additionally, studios are obligated to inform writers if they incorporate any AI-generated content into their work. The WGA’s contract explicitly states that exploiting writers’ material to train AI is forbidden, thereby asserting the union members’ non-consent to such use.
While the writers strike has been resolved, the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, remains on strike. Members of SAG-AFTRA recently voted in favor of authorizing a strike against the video game industry as well, voicing concerns about the potential misuse of AI to undermine the creative work of union members. Although the outcome of SAG-AFTRA’s contract negotiation is still undetermined, the WGA’s agreement sets a precedent by establishing limitations on the use of AI in creative professions. This development reflects the ongoing efforts of unions to safeguard the interests and creative rights of their members in an era of rapidly advancing technologies.