Australian Writers’ Guild rejects unregulated AI in the creative sector
28 September, 2023
The Australian Writers’ Guild has taken a firm stand against the unregulated use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Australia’s creative industries, issuing a position paper outlining the imminent threat posed by AI and an extensive framework for the appropriate regulation of its use to protect workers and audiences.
As the world learns that the Writers Guild of America won critical contract protections regarding AI in the USA screen industry, the AWG’s paper points to how creative workers in Australia will respond.
The Guild’s paper, which follows intensive work by a member committee and the Guild's elected leadership, states:
The unregulated use of AI by corporate content producers – including the major international studios and major video game publishers – represents a clear and present danger to Australian writing, and consequently a significant dilution of the critical functions we perform.
It is our position that the Australian creative sectors require the implementation of unambiguous guidelines, reinforced by rigorous, forward-looking legislation to provide strong protections.
The Guild, representing Australia’s screenwriters, playwrights, game narrative designers, comedians and podcasters, notes the risks of content producers using unregulated AI technology include:
- The degradation and loss of Australian culture in its most accessible forums
- The appropriation and erosion of First Nations culture
- The replacement of thoughtfully developed and realised Australian screen drama, theatre, and interactive content
- The loss of livelihoods for Australian creative workers
- The erosion of the skill base of Australian creatives
- The capture of players’ personal information and
- Exposing video game audiences to potentially harmful or offensive content.
The paper puts forward a comprehensive framework for the appropriate regulation of AI, covering authorial control, fair remuneration, protection of moral rights, First Nations cultural assets, classification, player opt in, and gambling and in-app purchases for video games.
AWG Executive Director Claire Pullen said: ‘At the core of this paper is the Guild’s directive to affirm and defend the right of every Australian writer to have their work fairly remunerated and protected through copyright.’
‘AI is derivative by nature. Its decision mimicry comes from ‘scraping’ works of Australian authors and creatives, most often without their consent, acknowledgement, or payment to the original artists. We need unambiguous guidelines and strong legislation to protect our arts workers and to ensure Australia has a creative and cultural future. AI has a place in our industries, but it is not in replacing the creative heart of every story.’
‘We know good writing is human writing and that the art and craft at the core of writing results from human endeavour, experience, and aspiration. That cannot be derived or replicated, and we have to ask – why would you try?’
Read the full statement here