WGA Might Allow AI Scripts to Be Made Into Movies

WGA Might Allow AI Scripts to Be Made Into Movies

The Writers Guild of America is full of complexities and conflicts. At the precipice of a guild-wide strike, they've proposed an amendment that would allow AI scripts, with one condition.

Variety reports that the proposed changes to the WGA's rules would stipulate that scripts made with AI — like the now notorious ChatGPT — would be allowed in the guild, as long as it "did not affect writers' credits or residuals." The outlet adds that the guild would allow writers to use tools that assisted in scriptwriting "without having to share writing credit or divide residuals." It would also mean studio heads could give writers ChatGPT scripts, for example, to re-work into complete projects they would receive credit for.

It's an interesting proposal, seeing as ChatGPT will likely become ubiquitous without serious intervention by regulators, but it doesn't necessarily address the myriad problems with the software. Of these, concerns about plagiarism and its heavy use of pre-existing text, dialogue and even entire video games bring up the ethical grey area that AI takes up.

As Variety notes, the WGA's proposal would relegate ChatGPT to the toolset that also includes software like Final Draft, which is the industry standard for scriptwriting. However, the proposals don't include stipulations for what would happen were a script to be entirely written by AI with no writer interference, which is a likely scenario in a post-Netflix Hollywood.

However, the stipulations do include language that AI cannot produce "literary material" or "source material," which are key terms for assigning credits. Without either, Netflix can't (for instance) credit ChatGPT or Open AI as the "writer" on a script. It creates a puzzling quandary about the future of the medium, even if Variety notes the scenarios are likely "farfetched."

It's not the only question plaguing the guild. As previously mentioned, its contract expires on May 1, and all signs lead to a likely strike by the guild. Of primary concern are issues about residuals, working conditions in writers rooms, pay equity and the state of the streaming industry at large.

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