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Hollywood’s Operations Will Be Altered by the New WGA Agreement

Hollywood’s Operations Will Be Altered by the New WGA Agreement

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) recently released a summary of their historic contract, which includes significant pay increases and regulations around artificial intelligence (AI). The pay increases affect various aspects of the industry, with particular emphasis on streaming services like Netflix. Writers of streaming features are set to receive a minimum compensation increase of 18 percent if the film has a budget of at least $30 million, along with a 26 percent increase in residual base.

Regarding AI, the WGA achieved its demands, establishing that AI cannot write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated content cannot be used as source material. This prevents executives from using AI to create stories and owning the rights to the resulting scripts. Furthermore, the WGA reserves the right to assert that the exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited. This provision allows the WGA to intervene if AI training becomes controversial or conflicts with existing or future laws.

While AI is receiving attention, the underlying game-changer is the access to streaming data. Previously, streaming data remained concealed, making it difficult to gauge project performance, which directly impacts pay. However, studios will now be required to provide the WGA with actual data on the number of hours streamed domestically and internationally for self-produced high-budget streaming programs. This requirement ensures transparency, preventing streamers from distorting metrics or providing meaningless rankings. Although certain metrics may be subject to nondisclosure agreements, the WGA can release aggregate data, revealing a more nuanced understanding of the streaming business.

With real numbers circulating, streamers will find it challenging to claim success for projects that aren’t widely recognized. This newfound transparency will revolutionize the industry by shedding light on the true popularity and success of streaming content.

Source: The Verge

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