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The Writers Guild kneecaps AI
Good news for a change.
The Writers Guild of America strike ends at 12:01 tonight.
The guild recently released details of the deal they struck with the studios. That link, in particular, shows what was offered in May compared to what was agreed upon this weekend.
Spoiler alert: The WGA negotiating committee did very well for their members. Getting things that many folks in town said were “impossible.” A testament to the power of collective bargaining
But, you know me. The first thing I scrolled to was the AI section of the agreement.
The above is a a plain-spoken version of the more detailed legalese contained in the full agreement.
I dove into the latter.
Yes. A studio can still bring writers AI-generated material to rewrite.
But, what the full agreement appears to do, is kneecap and decentivize using the tech. If I’m reading correctly, you can’t pay someone less to rewrite AI because the AI-generated material isn’t considered “source material.” It also states that AI-generated material can’t be given writing credit, nor be the basis for disqualifying a writer of separated rights.
In other words, writers still retain rights to the material they wrote. The company that used AI isn’t given those rights. And their compensation isn’t affected. If a writer adapts AI-generated material, the writer gets paid as if it were an original screenplay — not a lower-cost adaptation or rewrite.
Studios cannot use A.I. tools to rewrite original material. And companies can’t train AI on writers unless they opt in.
This allows companies to “experiment” with AI. However, if it doesn’t save companies money or allow them to retain rights, what’s the point?
As Adam Conover (WGA negotiator) explained on Twitter:
“Per copyright law, a human writer MUST be involved in the writing process for the companies to claim copyright over the output. Therefore, they will always need human writers.”
Is your brain in knots yet?
I would have loved the door shut firmly on AI. But in May, the studios offered this:
“Annual meetings to discuss advancements in technology."
And the WGA went in and got legit protections.
This is a big first step for artists in the battle against AI. One of a series of wins I hope (and believe) will continue once SAG works out its deal with the studios.
Ultimately real AI protections won’t begin until the courts side with artists.
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