Hollywood writers have officially ended their five-month strike, one of the longest in the history of the Writers Guild of America (WGA)—just five days short of breaking the record.
The WGA released a statement on Tuesday evening, announcing that writers could resume their duties starting just after midnight local time.
The union reached a “tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language,” the statement says.
The details of the agreement were disclosed on Tuesday. The writers secured significant concessions in areas they deemed essential, such as residual payments for shows on streaming services, enhanced transparency regarding viewership statistics for platforms like Netflix, and set minimums for writers in pre-development “mini rooms.”
Guidelines on AI
The agreement also introduces clear guidelines concerning the use of artificial intelligence, which has raised concerns among screenwriters following the recent emergence of ChatGPT and other AI chatbots.
“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,” the document says.
While writers will be allowed to use AI tools during their writing process with the company’s approval and in compliance with its policies, the company cannot mandate them to use specific AI software, such as ChatGPT.
The company will also be obligated to notify the writer if any materials provided to them were crafted or include AI-generated content.
Lastly, the WGA maintains the authority to assert that the adaptation of writers’ content for AI training might breach the MBA or other relevant rules.
The agreement was reached following five days of intensive negotiations between the WGA and a consortium of studios, streaming services, and production companies.
Members of the guild are scheduled to vote on the deal from 2 to 9 October, a step that observers believe should be a mere formality.
However, Hollywood is still far from returning to normalcy. Actors, represented by the SAG-AFTRA union, are still on strike.
Resolving this ongoing labor dispute, which has been in place since mid-July, might stretch on for weeks.
Even after the actors return to work, it will likely take several more months to get everyone back on set and catch up on the accumulated delays.
Decrypt has reached out to the Writers Guild of America for comment and will update this article should the organization respond.