The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has called off its strike after five months during which a slew of popular shows were taken off air.
The WGA said it had reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), and voted unanimously to recommend it to its 11,500 members.
It’s also given the green light for writers to return to work from Wednesday, though acknowledged that the situation could change if its members vote against the deal when they have their say next month.
According to the WGA, improvements have been agreed for writers’ pay as well as for contribution rates to their health and pensions.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry has also been addressed following concerns that the technology could adversely impact the work of entertainment writers.
As per the WGA:
– 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.
– 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.
– The company must disclose to the writer if any materials given to the writer have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated material.
– The WGA reserves the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law.
The ongoing actors’ strike means movie sets and TV shows will stay shuttered, but the new WGA contract means that, for example, America’s late-night talk shows can return to screens, with NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! expected to head back into production as early as next week.
But as one entertainment-linked strike ends, another could soon begin as the sections of the video game industry demand a better contract.