📁 Download the WGA 2023 theatrical-and-television-basic-agreement.pdf
Bob Schultz provides a comprehensive talk addressing the WGA’s agreement with the AMPTP concerning the use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) in screenwriting.
Schultz clarifies that he’s not qualified to give legal advice but can share information from the writer’s perspective. The discussion primarily focuses on the implications of the AI provisions in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the WGA and the AMPTP.
- The MOA includes an article, Article 72, that specifically deals with generative artificial intelligence (GAI).
- The MOA defines GAI as a technology that learns from data to produce content, excluding AIs used for tasks like CGI or plagiarism detection.
- According to the MOA, GAI is not to be considered a writer, meaning it cannot be credited as such or receive benefits.
- GAI-written material is not considered “literary material” under the agreement. If a writer is handed something by GAI to rewrite or adapt, it’s considered an “assignment” rather than an adaptation of literary material.
- The agreement protects writers from having their jobs “stolen” by AI, stating that neither traditional AI nor GAI is considered a writer or professional writer for the next three years.
- Companies must disclose if a given material is produced by GAI. Writers are also expected to disclose if they’ve used GAI in their work.
- The disclosure ensures that GAI-produced written material is not considered source material for writing credit. You can’t say a script is “based on something by Chat GPT.”
- The agreement does not make GAI-produced material copyrightable by default. However, substantial alteration or personalization by a human writer can make it so.
- The use of GAI doesn’t affect eligibility for separated rights, and writers must still adhere to company-specific policies regarding GAI use.
- Bob Schultz suggests that the MOA should be considered a foundational document for both WGA and non-WGA writers, as it was crafted to be fair to writers.
- Company consent is important for using generative AI like Chat GPT in the screenwriting industry, but writers should frame it as an advantage for both parties involved.
- GAI should not be mandated in employment contracts, supporting the notion that writers should have the freedom to choose their tools.
- Schultz predicts a natural preference among producers for writers who can deliver quickly with AI, given the benefits like speed and budget efficiency.
- Schultz argues against the notion that using GAI is plagiarism, seeing it as an extension of the creative influences writers naturally accumulate.
- Discusses the shifting landscape of copyright law, predicting major changes by 2025 due to the influence of big companies like Disney and Netflix.
- Highlights the importance of being agile and adapting to new technologies, citing an example where a generated image led to immediate project approval.
- Schultz identifies a gap between current copyright laws and the capabilities of GAI, pointing out that laws will need to catch up.
- Offers a personal take, stating he prefers individual consultation with directors and actors over being in a writers’ room, and how GAI can be beneficial in such settings.
- Schultz comments on a question about AI’s role in creative competitions, stating that while some contests ban the use of AI, it’s essential to respect those rules. He concludes by expressing pride in his work, both with and without AI assistance, emphasizing that the tool doesn’t define him as a writer.
Schultz emphasizes that the MOA does not eliminate AI as a tool but rather clarifies its role and limitations in the writing process. He suggests that the agreement generally benefits writers, though not necessarily in the way that’s been popularly understood.
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‘I’m quite an early adopter of new tech but I hadn’t used LLMs (Language AI) before because it didn’t seem more efficient for my needs. After joining Bob’s Augmented Creativity online communities and attending his live WGA & AI breakdown, I feel equipped to start using language AI tools to improve quite niche and complicated work. Secondly, and very importantly, Bob doesn’t shy away from the ethical dilemmas and existential dread facing writers. I find his approach to be sensitive to the possibilities for creatives in the future and how they can adapt their skills to still survive. He doesn’t shy away from a healthy dose of cynical honest realism that is helpful for navigating the film industry. I appreciate his consistent evaluation of the industry adoption of LLMs. No one is an expert – time will tell. But I have been recommending Bob to many of my favourite humans.’
Augusta Wicht // Writer and Director