With the rise of AI text generation, WGA draws lines in negotiations

Helen Hwang, Contributor

April 3, 2023

1 Min Read

At a Glance

  • The Writer’s Guild of America doesn’t want ChatGPT to get credit for helping write screenplays
  • The use of AI tools is providing a sticking point as the WGA could be set for its first strike in 15 years as talks falter
  • The WGA wants AI to be designated in a way so that writers keep both credit and payments

The Writer’s Guild of America West (WGA) is proposing that AI can help write scripts – so long it does not affect a writer's credits or residuals.

The Guild said filmmakers can use tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to help develop a script without giving credit to software firms or sharing residuals. A studio executive could also assign an AI-generated script to a writer to edit or rewrite.

The WGA wants to protect its members from losing credit and residuals because of the rising role of AI software in writing. The guild wants its members to avoid getting entangled with disputes with tech firms.

The guild has proposed that AI be seen as a tool, similar to the screenwriting software Final Draft. Tweets from WGA also confirm its stance that AI can’t generate ‘literary material’ and as ‘source material.’

However, the Guild doesn’t want AI-sourced material categorized as ‘literary material’ or ‘source material’ to create or rewrite union contract-covered work.

Literary material includes screenplays, treatments, stories, sketches, dialogue, etc. A “written by” credit gives an author full residual for a project. Source material means writings that inspire screenplays, like magazine articles, novels, or plays.

With source materials, a writer gets a ‘screenplay by’ credit, which acknowledges 75% of the credit to the writer. The designation that ChatGPT cannot create ‘source material’ implies that a writer will get full 'written by' credit, even if they based their work on an AI-developed story.

About the Author(s)

Helen Hwang

Contributor, AI Business

Helen Hwang is an award-winning journalist, author, and mechanical engineer. She writes about technology, health care, travel, and food. She's based in California.

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