The unending buzz on the internet revolves around news of AIs like ChatGPT, Bard AI, and others potentially replacing writers in various industries. It’s not surprising that this was a significant topic of discussion on Tuesday, September 26th, when the WGA West and WGA East convened to make a unanimous decision regarding the 148-day strike.
The contract now fights against the possibilities of replacing writers with AI. As per the updated agreement, AI cannot be employed for literary purposes or as source material. Also, it is prohibited to use a writer’s content for AI training.
Additionally, writers have the option to use AI within the framework of company policies, but it cannot be mandated by the company, and if AI-generated material is provided to a writer, it must be disclosed as such.
In addition, they fought for other benefits that writers could enjoy like :
1. Viewership-Based Streaming Bonus:
In the new contract, a significant benefit is the introduction of a viewership-based streaming bonus. Streaming companies are now obligated to provide detailed viewership data to the Writers Guild of America (WGA), including domestic and international streaming hours. The key condition for triggering this bonus is that a work must be viewed by a minimum of 20% of the streaming company’s domestic subscribers within the first ninety days of release.
2. Increased Minimum Weekly Rates:
The contract also raises minimum weekly rates for different writer categories. Staff writers and story editors/executive story editors will see an increase in their minimum weekly rates to recognize their valuable creative contributions to the industry.
3. Enhanced Health and Pension Contributions:
The contract includes improvements in health and pension contributions for both individual writers and writer teams. The increased contribution rate reflects a commitment to the well-being and financial security of writers.
4. Minimum Staff Writers Requirement for Series:
A significant aspect of the contract is the introduction of a minimum staff writers requirement for television series. It mandates that series must employ a minimum of three writers-producers. This includes one as the showrunner, to ensure a robust creative team for each series. The specific number of staff writers required varies based on the series’ episode count:
- Series with six or fewer episodes must employ a minimum of three writers.
- Series with seven to twelve episodes must have at least five writers.
- Series with thirteen or more episodes must engage a minimum of six writers.
However, it’s important to note that this requirement can be waived if a single writer is responsible for scripting all episodes.
We are glad that the 148-day-long WGA strike has finally come to an end and hope that all Nigerian Guilds can borrow from this and work towards making their associations formidable.