The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to officially lift its strike order, over half a year since it stopped work and demanded a better contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Writers can officially go back to work after 12:01 AM PT on September 27, even though the organization has yet to hold the final ratification vote. WGA’s decision comes shortly after it held a series of negotiation sessions with producers and reached a tentative agreement, with one of the key sticking points being the use of generative AI.
Now, the WGA has released a summary of the terms of its new contract, and it prominently features protections against the use of generative AI in the writing process. To start with, generative AI can’t be used to write or rewrite literary material, and anything it produces cannot be considered source material. Writers can choose to use AI if the company or studio consents to it, but studios can’t force writers to use AI software like ChatGPT. If a studio already has materials to hand over to a writer, they have to disclose if those materials include anything generated by AI. Finally, the “exploitation of writers’ material to train AI” is prohibited under the new agreement.
In addition to AI-related protections, writers are also getting higher pay, increased pension and health contributions, as well as higher payment and residuals for streaming projects. Foreign streaming residuals will be based on the number of subscribers for services available globally, while some domestic projects’ residuals will be based on hours streamed by subscribers in the US. The new contract will be valid for three years until May 1, 2026.
While the WGA strike has now ended, SAG-AFTRA’s is still ongoing. The group even voted in favor of a strike authorization for performers working in video games recently to give it added leverage in its negotiations with video game producers.