If you are a writer who created an original screenplay which never got produced and you would like to set up your work at another Company, there is hope to be found in the WGA MBA. There is a provision in the WGA MBA that allows writers to buy back their unproduced, original literary material. The WGA MBA refers to this as reacquisition. There are certain requirements that must be met and there is a limited window of time in which the literary material may be reacquired.
For Contracts dated prior to May 2, 2001
If the writer’s original employment or purchase agreement is dated prior to May 2, 2001, please call the Guild’s Contracts Department as soon as possible at (323) 782-4501 to discuss whether the writer is still eligible to reacquire the literary material. It is likely that the limited window to reacquire has closed or is about to close.
For Contracts dated on or after May 2, 2001
If the writer’s original employment or purchase agreement is dated on or after May 2, 2001 and the answer is yes to the following questions, then there is a good chance the writer is eligible to reacquire the literary material:
- Is the project theatrical?
- Was the writer employed by a signatory Company to write the literary material? Or, if it was a sale, did the writer meet the WGA MBA definition of “professional writer” when the literary material was sold to a signatory Company?
- Is the project original? In other words, is the project not based on any pre-existing material?
- Has it been at least five (5) years and not more than ten (10) years since the original writer last delivered a draft of the literary material to the original Company?
- Is the project unproduced?
If you are prepared to initiate the reacquisition process, you may download and print the applicable Reacquisition Form and forward the completed form along with a copy of the relevant contract to: Contracts Department, WGAW, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
For Option Contracts dated on or after May 2, 2001
If you optioned original literary material, wrote revisions and the option thereafter expired, you may be able to reacquire those revisions and set up your project somewhere else with a clean chain of title. The right to reacquire revisions of optioned original theatrical projects exists only for contracts dated on or after May 2, 2001 and is not retroactive for older projects. The limited window to reacquire revisions is at least one (1) year and not more than six (6) years after the option expires. Since this could be a time sensitive matter, we suggest that you call the Guild’s Contracts Department at (323) 782-4501 to discuss.