Writers Guild of America ends strike with new AMPTP deal

On Sept. 27, 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) signed a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to end their recent strike. The contract gives writers protection against the use of artificial intelligence, along with better residual payments for streaming platforms, higher pay in general and minimum staffing requirements.
WGA began striking on May 2, 2023, temporarily closing most film and television productions, although independent studios, such as A24, could continue through the strike as long as they obtained waivers. Since the WGA does not deal with commercial writing, advertisements were also allowed to remain in production.

When the writer strike first started, studios part of the AMPTP insisted that their demands were unreasonable. “There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive,” Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, said. It also seemed that the size of big studios would take away much of the power of WGA’s 11,500 members.

Before the strike, many of WGA’s propositions for a new contract were effectively ignored. For example, when a required 2nd step for screenplays was proposed, the AMPTP counter-offered with educational meetings for creative executives.

Their new contract puts the use of AI in the hands of writers. Writers can elect to use AI when producing scripts, as long as their employer allows them to, but writers cannot be forced to integrate AI as part of their creative process . Other protections that surround the emerging technology are included in the new WGA contract.

The end of the writers strike along with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) striking since the end of their contract in July could possibly start a trend in strikes for other types of work. Artists in the music industry have already begun to worry about how they will be paid if AI is trained with their copyrighted material.