Members of the Writers Guild of America are currently on picket lines in Los Angeles, largely over worries that studio bosses will use ChatGPT to write jokes and dramas.
When the Writers Guild voted to strike on May 2nd, the union demanded of producers that AI “can’t write or rewrite literary material, can’t be used as source material, and that contract-covered material can’t be used to train AI.”
Questions about the role of generative AI technology invariably focus on intellectual property law, both in the so-called training of large language models like ChatGPT and in the output of works, including text, images, and even videos.
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Variety has just published a special report on “Gen AI and IP Law,” Paul Sweeting of the RightsTech Project is the report’s author.
“The concern for the Writers Guild is that studios will rely on this sort of technology to generate the basic script for a movie – the story, the characters, the basic dialogue – and then just hire writers on a basically day labor basis to come in and punch up what the machine has created,” Sweeting tells me.
Hollywood studios, by contrast, consider AI technology as a tool for driving greater efficiency in their businesses.
“Generative AI is already playing a role within the movie production process, and it’s only going to play a more prominent role as the technology advances,” Sweeting says.
“Studios have been very quietly using AI to essentially test-read scripts and asking the AI to make predictions about its commercial possibilities or potential and even weighing in on casting and various other aspects of it. So AI has been there for a while in Hollywood, and it’s only going to become a more prominent part of the production process and the pre-production process as the technology continues to advance, which it is at lightning speed.”