Hollywood Writers' Strike Ends After 148 Days: AI Use Regulated

After 148 days, the Hollywood writers' strike is over. A new contract with AI safeguards has been agreed upon, allowing writers to return to work.
Hollywood Writers' Strike Ends After 148 Days: AI Use Regulated

WASHINGTON: After a prolonged 148-day wait, the Hollywood writers' strike has officially drawn to a close. Variety, a prominent US-based media outlet, reported that a tentative agreement was successfully reached on a fresh contract between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). In response to this milestone development, the boards of the WGA West and the councils of the WGA East made a unanimous decision on Tuesday to lift the strike order, with immediate effect starting at 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday. This strategic decision enables writers to resume their work as early as Wednesday, even prior to the final ratification vote.

The ratification vote is scheduled to take place from October 2 to October 9. The WGA will conduct member meetings on both coasts this week, facilitating in-person and Zoom-based discussions to thoroughly review the details of the new contract, as reported by Variety. The decision to cancel the strike order came following unanimous votes from the WGA's negotiating committee, the WGA West board, and the WGA East council, all in favor of sending the contract to the members for ratification. Notably, the WGA has made the entire 94-page contract available, along with a summary of its key terms. These terms encompass substantial wage raises, a novel requirement for minimum personnel levels in TV writers' rooms, improved payment conditions for screenwriters, and vital safeguards against the utilization of artificial intelligence in the writing process.

As stipulated in the guild's agreement:

- Artificial intelligence is prohibited from generating or rewriting literary material, and AI-generated content will not be recognized as source material under the MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement). This ensures that AI-generated material cannot undermine a writer's credit or separated rights.

- A writer may opt to use AI during writing services, provided the company consents and the writer adheres to relevant company policies. However, companies cannot compel writers to utilize AI software, such as ChatGPT, when performing writing services.

- The company must disclose to the writer if any materials provided have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated content.

- The WGA retains the right to assert that the exploitation of writers' material for AI training is prohibited by the MBA or other applicable laws.

The WGA's vote to terminate the strike order officially brings an end to the work stoppage, which was still in effect as of Sunday when the WGA communicated to its members: "To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week," as noted by Variety.

While the WGA has resolved its strike, the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is continuing its picket of the AMPTP, awaiting its turn to return to the negotiating table after its own 75-day strike. The strike by 11,500 WGA members commenced on May 2 of this year when their previous contract expired. Among the grievances that prompted the strike were demands for increased pay, concerns about the use of Artificial Intelligence in script creation, and discontent over reduced writing staffs associated with the performance of streaming shows.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday evening, both the WGA and AMPTP announced, "The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language," as stated by the WGA.


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