The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has released a historic summary of the new contract, highlighting significant wins for writers in terms of pay increases and protection against artificial intelligence (AI). Pay increases apply to various categories, including “high budget subscription video on demand” and streaming films. Writers of streaming features will see a minimum compensation increase of 18% if the film’s budget is at least $30 million, along with a 26% increase in residual base.
On the AI front, the WGA has achieved what it demanded from the start. AI will not be able to write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material cannot be used as a source. This prevents executives from using AI to generate ideas and then claiming ownership of the resulting scripts. The WGA also reserves the right to assert that the exploitation of writers’ material in training AI is prohibited, enabling them to challenge any potential changes to the law or contentious use of AI training.
One of the most significant aspects of the contract is the requirement for studios to provide the WGA with actual data on the performance of high-budget streaming programs, including total streaming hours domestically and internationally. This eliminates the opaque nature of streaming data, which had previously made it difficult to gauge project performance and determine appropriate compensation. While the numbers provided by studios may be subject to non-disclosure agreements, the WGA can still release aggregated data, offering a more nuanced understanding of the streaming industry. This transparency will make it harder for streamers to manipulate metrics and narratives surrounding their projects’ success or failure.