WGA’s contract overhaul to redefine Hollywood’s functioning.

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The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has released a historic summary of their new contract, which includes significant pay increases and regulations around artificial intelligence (AI). Notable pay increases are seen across the board, particularly for “high budget subscription video on demand” and streaming films. In terms of AI, the contract specifies that AI cannot write or rewrite literary material, and material generated by AI cannot be used as source material, preventing executives from claiming ownership of AI-generated stories. The WGA also reserves the right to assert that the use of writers’ material to train AI is exploitation, which aligns with proposed laws in California regulating AI training.

The introduction of real data transparency in the streaming industry is another major win for the WGA. Previously, streaming data has been a black hole, with limited information available to those working on projects. Pay for projects is directly tied to performance, making accurate data crucial. Under the new contract, studios will be required to provide the WGA with actual data on the total number of hours streamed domestically and internationally, enabling a more nuanced understanding of streaming business. Although these numbers may be subject to non-disclosure agreements, the WGA will have the authority to release data in aggregate, providing a clearer picture of streaming’s impact.

The availability of real data poses a challenge to streamers who previously had the freedom to manipulate metrics and rankings to suit their narratives. With accurate numbers circulating, it will be more difficult for projects with low viewership to be labeled as successful, and cancellations based on lack of interest will be scrutinized. The contract disrupts the data opacity that has allowed the industry to shape its own story and introduces a new era of transparency in streaming.

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