IAF supports WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike

Serena Barone Authors rights, Fair contracts, Strike, USA

The International Authors Forum (IAF) stands in solidarity with the more than 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who in May 2023 began a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) after the failure in negotiating new fair contracts for writers and screenwriters in the film and television industry. The WGA has requested a rise in base pay, increased minimum compensation and residuals for streaming and protection from unlicensed use of creative work in generative AI technology.

On July 13, 2023, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the American union representing around 16,000 actors, broadcasters, and performers across film, television and radio, joined the WGA in the strike, the first time both have been on strike together in 63 years.

The current situation in the United States highlights the urgent need for action to support authors and new legislative involvement as the creative industries enter a new digital era in which poor remuneration, insufficient compensation for streaming and ill-considered use of AI developments poses threats to the ability of authors to make a living from their work.

For too long, newer uses such as streaming have not seen authors properly remunerated, with a lack of transparency as to how their works are enjoyed, while the way in which their works are used have extended and expanded with on demand services.

By taking action, the WGA and their members are trying to set clear parameters to ensure that their work is properly protected against unlicensed AI uses that would take advantage of and replicate their work without compensation. It is important to support the unified, resolute action they have taken to prevent the undercutting of authors’ work.

The IAF supports the WGA and SAG-AFTRA in their pursuit of fair treatment and compensation for their members. The IAF believes that it is vital for industry stakeholders to recognise the need to treat creatives fairly and properly acknowledge their contributions for the creative sector to survive in its vibrant diversity.