After a nearly five-month-long strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is telling its members to lower their picket signs. In a post, the WGA said its Negotiating Committee, WGAW Board, and WGAE Council all voted unanimously to recommend the three-year agreement reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. They will end their strike at 12:01AM PM on Wednesday, sending writers back to work, with a ratification vote scheduled for between October 2nd and October 9th.
A summary explaining terms of the deal has been posted so that we can see details of their agreement for the first time, as well as the 94-page deal (embedded below) which is scheduled to remain in effect from September 25th, 2023 through May 1st, 2026. Two segments that jump out are the regulations around the use of generative AI tools as well as specific rules about streaming data and how to calculate bonuses based on viewers.
There’s a new viewership-based bonus structure in place for series and films made for streaming, plus an agreement for the studios to share data with the Guild on the number of hours streamed for projects like Netflix’s original series.
When it comes to AI, the tools “can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material under the MBA.” Also, companies can’t require writers to use AI software like ChatGPT, and they have to tell writers if any materials given to the writer were generated by AI or include AI-generated material.
Even with writers back to work, we might not see productions fully return to normal. The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) — a union representing about 160,000 performers in the entertainment industry — is still on strike. Until both writers and actors resume working, we likely won’t see productions go back to normal.
(Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.)
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