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  • Robert Farago

BREAKING: Hollywood Studios OK AI

You call that protection?


You may have heard that the Writers Guild of America is about to end their five-month strike. The media is full of summaries, including pay, employment and royalties. For our purposes, let’s focus on the deal re: Artificial Intelligence.


“We have established regulations for the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) on MBA-covered projects in the following ways” wgacontract2023.com reports.

AI can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material under the MBA, meaning that AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights. 

So no AI? Yes and no. Studios can’t generate material without writers being involved in its initial creation (which assures them copyright).


In other words, studios can’t cut writers out of the loop when creating original material. As you’d expect. But writers can use AI.

A writer can choose to use AI when performing writing services, if the company consents and provided that the writer follows applicable company policies, but the company can’t require the writer to use AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) when performing writing services. 

So writers can generate scripts with AI. But they don’t have to. Big whoop. On the other hand, writers have to get studio approval to use AI.


With a little tweaking, how will the studio know if they have or haven’t used AI? They won’t. So what’s the point of this provision, other than somehow assuaging studios that they’re “not” using AI?


Also, I’m not a lawyer, but isn’t studio AI permission open to negotiation? Sure we’ll give you AI approval but we ain’t paying you the same as if it was all you.

The Company must disclose to the writer if any materials given to the writer have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated material.

Not sure why that’s there, either.

The WGA reserves the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law.

That’s a big deal. It means that studios really can’t cut writers out of the loop by training AI to imitate their work.


Basically, studios can’t use AI except when they can, and writers can use AI as long as they tell studios that’s what they’re doing. Which they won’t.

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