Scouting Hollywood: Aug. 31-Sept. 6
A roundup of news, gossip and history of the entertainment business brought to you from Hollywood, Calif.
One of the big issues in the Writers Guild (WGA) strike is the potential future use by producers of artificial intelligence (A.I.) to replace writers. A recent federal court ruling in a suit regarding a copyright application for a computer-generated image may make the producers pause a bit. U.S. copyright law, the judge wrote, “protects only works of human creation” and is “designed to adapt with the times.” There’s been a consistent understanding that human creativity is “at the core of copyrightability, even as that human creativity is channeled through new tools or into new media,” the ruling stated. “Human authorship is a bedrock requirement.” Thus, a script created by A.I. would not be eligible for copyright. A program created from such a script would be eligible for copyright as a derivative work, but the story would not be covered. Intellectual property (IP) is the heart of the creative industry – just look at how hard Disney has fought to keep Mickey Mouse’s IP protected, and lots of lawyers have put their kids through college fighting the IP battle for Hollywood.
On a related strike note, after 113 days on the picket lines, the Producers met Writers Guild negotiators to present a plan. In the room were the heads of the major studios to facilitate a writers’ demand to negotiate with the bosses. The writers rejected the offer and walked out after 20 minutes. Subsequently the Producers released details of their offer publicly. This move has stirred up a hornet’s nest of criticism and seems to have solidified the writers’ determination to stay on strike. The fall TV schedule is definitely in danger of being canceled. I just drove by Disney Studios and hundreds of writers and actors were on the picket line.
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