The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has released a historic contract summary, highlighting significant wins in pay increases and artificial intelligence (AI). The pay increases apply to various platforms, including streaming films and high-budget subscription video on demand services like Netflix. For streaming features, writers can expect a minimum compensation increase of 18 percent for films budgeted at least $30 million, along with a 26 percent increase in residual base.
Regarding AI, the WGA succeeded in preventing AI-generated material from being used as source material or in the rewriting of literary material. Additionally, the WGA reserves the right to assert that the exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by law. This provision is likely connected to proposed laws in California that regulate the use of materials for AI training. However, the director of policy and advocacy at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Katharine Trendacosta, emphasized that while AI is attention-grabbing, data is the real game changer.
One significant development in the contract is the requirement for studios to provide the WGA with actual data on the number of hours streamed domestically and internationally for self-produced high-budget streaming programs. This means that platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon will no longer be able to manipulate or create arbitrary metrics to report to the WGA. While the released metrics may be subject to non-disclosure agreements, the WGA will still be able to release aggregated data, providing a more detailed understanding of the streaming business. This transparency will make it more challenging for streamers to claim success for projects that are relatively unknown to the public.
Overall, the contract summary represents a significant achievement for the WGA, securing improved compensation for writers and establishing safeguards against AI exploitation while also demanding greater transparency in streaming data.