Hollywood Writers Don’t Want to Do Justice to Generative AI


Hot question: The Writers Guild of America is discussing how to deal with ChatGPT and other generative AI algorithms when it comes to scripting. The organization is apparently ready to allow work with the help of AI, but only if the AI is deprived of any copyrights.

While people are beginning to face the plagiaristic possibilities of AI algorithms, the union representing writers for film, television, radio and other media industries is thinking about how to properly manage this new frontier in content creation. The WGA seems ready to consider AI as a legitimate tool in the process of writing scripts, but does not want to lose money because of it.

According to three unnamed sources in the film industry, the WGA proposal does not provide for a complete ban on the use of artificial intelligence technology in the work of writers. Hollywood screenwriters and screenwriters would prefer to use generative AI, treating it simply as a “tool” without any practical consequences for credit or monetary compensation.

The WGA is discussing the state of generative AI in its negotiations with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP), as both organizations are working on drafting a new working contract. The WGA later confirmed its proposal in a series of tweets about regulating “materials produced using artificial intelligence.”


According to the aforementioned tweets, such regulation should ensure that film and television companies will not be able to use AI to “undermine the standards of writers’ work” when it comes to compensation, balances, shared rights and credits.

The WGA states that AI cannot be used as a “source” or “literary material” for any project covered by the MBA program, since these are the two main definitions for classifying the works of writers. The source material refers to original novels, plays, or even magazine articles on which the script can be based. Literary material is the main product of a writer’s work, which is then examined for residues and other compensations.

The WGA states that AI cannot be used as source material because AI software is not capable of creating anything on its own. ChatGPT and other machine learning algorithms are just statistical inference machines that generate “regurgitation of what has been fed to them,” the organization says.

AI feeds on both copyrighted and publicly available content, and it doesn’t have the “mind” or any awareness to determine what’s what. Consequently, the AI results cannot be copyrighted, and the AI software cannot sign the “certificate of authorship”. Conversely, the WGA concludes, plagiarism is an integral feature of the AI process.


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