New Creative Rights Provisions in the 2004 MBA
The Guild and CEOs negotiated additional and revised Creative Rights provisions in the 2004 Minimum Basic Agreement. The following is a summary* of those creative rights, but the actual Guild contract governs in the case of a dispute. If you or your client has questions regarding any of these provisions, or would like copies of the Theatrical and/or Television Creative Rights wallet cards, please contact the Creative Rights Department at (323) 782-4741.
Late Pay (Theatrical and Long-form Television): The Company shall attach a cover sheet to the document memorializing the agreement between the Company and Writer which sets forth in summary form all conditions precedent which must be satisfied before writing services can commence.
Executive(s) Named in Writers' Deal Memos and Contracts (Theatrical): The person(s) identified in the writer's contract to whom material shall be delivered and/or who is authorized to request rewrites cannot be anyone at a level higher than the President of Production.
Names of Previously-Employed and/or Currently Employed Writers in Deal Memo and Contract (Theatrical and Television): The Company shall state in a writer's individual employment agreement, to the best of its knowledge, the names of all other writers then or previously employed by the Company on the same material, or from whom it purchased material for the project. The Company shall also indicate in the writer's contract if the project is in turnaround from another company, and if so, the name of such company.
Cover Page Requirements (Theatrical and Television): During the development phase (e.g., when submissions to agents, actors or directors are being made), the Company shall place the name of the initial writer on literary material, following which the words "current revisions" shall precede the name(s) of the writer(s) of that draft. Upon commencement of pre-production and until writing credits have been determined, the script shall bear the name of the first writer followed by the names of all subsequent writers under the headings "Revisions by" and "Current Revisions by" as appropriate. Once writing credits have been determined, only the names of the credited writers shall appear on the script.
Invitations to Premieres/Film Festivals (Theatrical): The Company shall pay first class travel and accommodations for all credited writers invited to attend the domestic premiere of the picture or film festival at which the picture is first exhibited, if the credited writer(s) is required to travel more than 150 miles.
Videocassette/DVD (Theatrical): Credited writers must be furnished, at no cost, a videocassette or, at the writer's option, a DVD of the movie, provided it is manufactured for sale on DVD.
Videocassette/DVD (Television): Credited writers must be furnished, at no cost, a videocassette and DVD of the television motion picture, provided it is manufactured for sale on videocassette and DVD.
Thank you in advance for helping us enforce these important rights. Please feel free to contact the Creative Rights Department at (323) 782-4741 if we can assist you or your clients regarding creative rights.
*This summary is not a substitute for the MBA and is not intended to, and does not, alter the provisions of the MBA in any way.
Suggestions for Overscale Creative Rights Provisions
Historically, overscale creative rights have been more difficult to negotiate than overscale compensation. Despite this experience, there is no legal impediment to writers and their representatives negotiating overscale deals in the creative rights areas. These provisions often don't cost the employer more money, would provide the writer with a more satisfying working relationship, and would likely yield a better theatrical motion picture or television program. Using current MBA provisions as a starting point, here are a few suggestions for overscale provisions you might try to negotiate on behalf of your client.
You could negotiate . . .
• for your client to use a pseudonym, regardless of the amount of compensation he/she has been paid or guaranteed.
• that the company will consult with your client about decisions regarding casting of principal performers, choice of principal locale and director.
• that your client cannot be replaced.
• for the absolute right for your client to attend cast readings and other rehearsals.
• for the absolute right for your client to be present on the set, and, if travel is involved, for the company to pay expenses.
• the right for your client to view dailies.
• the right for your client to attend research screenings.
• that your client has the absolute right to attend the premiere and film festivals with a reasonable number of guests, and that the company will pay their expenses.
• for the absolute right, if your client receives credit, to participate in the press junket.
• for the absolute right, if your client receives credit, to be interviewed for a DVD commentary and for it to be included on the DVD.
Please contact the Creative Rights Department at (323) 782-4741 for further information on overscale provisions.