WGA and More Unions Pen Letter to Congress Demanding ‘Urgent Action’ on AI Protections for Writers and Journalists

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and other unions representing film and TV writers and journalists sent a letter to Congress Thursday urging protections for their industries in any legislation regarding Artificial Intelligence.

Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the letter was co-signed by the NewsGuild-CWA, Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), and National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA).

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“So far this year, our members have witnessed the impact of unregulated AI on their jobs,” the letter, obtained by Variety, states. “Major news media companies, including Gannett and G/O Media sites, deployed AI articles with fake bylines to replace the work of hardworking local and digital journalists and writers. Film and television writers won critical protections in their collective bargaining agreement, but their work continues to be used by AI developers without their consent.”

WGA was on strike from May 2-Sept. 27, with one of the key sticking points in its new deal with Hollywood studios being protections against generative AI.

In the letter, the unions ask Schumer to urge Congress to “take urgent action” to make sure AI legislation includes:

  • Ensuring AI does not replace journalists and creative professionals or replicate work produced by these professionals without consent or fair compensation, whether or not they own the copyrights to their work

  • Safeguarding against the use of AI to surveil workers and their work product

  • Protecting professional voice, likeness and performance and written talent

  • Codifying workers’ rights to bargain collectively over AI policy in the workplace.

“We strongly urge the Senate to pass meaningful legislation that protects writers and other creative professionals working in film, television, news, podcasts and online media from the existential threat of AI,” WGA East president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said. “AI is a rapidly advancing technology posing numerous real-world consequences. There must be strong legal guardrails put in place to ensure that this tool is not abused by companies to the detriment of a writer’s work.”

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