July 19, 2024

Screenwriters won a historic victory against AI. The rest of us should follow

The writers won. I know that sounds jarring. It’s more common to hear something like, “the writers are arguing among themselves over some unimaginably trivial point of grammar”. But right now, the writers won. The 148-day-long Writers Guild of America strike is over. Now, the hard part begins.

The new WGA contract, which will almost certainly be formally ratified by members this month, was won at fantastic expense by thousands of screenwriters who went five months without work in order to hold the line. (I am a Writers Guild member myself, but we journalists were not on strike.) In July, when the strike was 10 weeks old, an anonymous studio executive infamously told the industry publication Deadline: “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.” And indeed, that came to pass.