A five-month strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ended with a Hollywood studio deal.
Work has resumed for writers. While greater residuals, health and pension payments, and wage increases benefit the Guild, artificial intelligence is murkier.
Over the previous five months, studios eager to use AI made WGA discussions acrimonious. Studios may replace authors with AI technologies like ChatGPT, jeopardizing their livelihoods, was and remains the worry.
A WGA description of the new labor agreement states, “AI can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material.”
The union won big by deeming AI-generated literature unsuitable as literary material as AIs aren’t “writers.” It’s what the WGA demanded from the start.
Authors can utilize these techniques if their employers, such as film or TV studios, let it. When working with AI-generated materials, studios must inform authors.
More crucially, the new agreement prohibits businesses from training AI on writers’ work, reflecting mounting concerns and litigation over OpenAI’s copyright infringement.
ABC notes that the WGA reserves “the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI.”
The discussion over whether OpenAI is infringing copyright law by scanning existing works is just beginning.
Thus, the WGA’s new agreement’s imprecise language shouldn’t be surprising. The legal consequences of tech are just beginning to be considered by courts.
Thus, alleging that a writer is being exploited by having their material used to train an AI is distinct from outlawing the activity, and it is unclear if writers will have legal redress in certain circumstances.
On social media, many authors outside the Guild are praising the new accord a success.
Jennifer Lacopelli tweeted, “As an author, I genuinely want to kiss the feet of the WGA who got the studios to commit that AI isn’t writing.” “Such things trickle through industries.”
“This is good,” sci-fi writer James Yu says. “AI empowers writers, and they choose when to use it.”
Since writers are back at work, programs will soon resume.
It’s “Welcome to your first day back at work,” WGA East president Lisa Cullen tweeted. As you turn on your computers, you have more employment safeguards, cash payments, career prospects, and AI guardrails than ever before.”
Still on strike, the Screen Actors Guild decided to strike video game businesses this week. What will happen of such AI conversations is unknown.