The advantage for the screenwriter is that the producer out there is trying to do the script of the author, but there has been no transfer of rights, as it would be with an option/sales contract. This can give the screenwriter a little more bargaining leverage if the producer finds a buyer for the script. Nevertheless, there are many details to consider. Note: If you are a member of the WGA, some of the conditions may be settled in a writing agreement (and to a lesser extent option/sale contracts) under the terms of the WGA`s agreement with “signatory” companies (such as studios, networks, cable operators, production companies and actual producers). For example, minimum payments and screen credits are covered by the WGA MBA – a minimum basic agreement. Writer`s Collaboration Agreement . An agreement between the parties to collaborate on an original story, treatment, script or other work. When the agreement is reached with an agent, the terms of the agreement are also governed by state laws and union agreements designed to govern agents and their relationships with their clients. Thank you for contacting me. Some great questions here about the WGA Writer`s Collaboration Agreement, the rights in the scenarios and the rights of the life story. First, I would like to briefly address the issue of WGA registration.
If you are not a WGA member, registration with the WGA is not necessary and it is not necessary if you do not extend it regularly after a period of years. I don`t find the WGA app simpler than the United State Copyright app, and I`m always surprised at how often authors choose to register the WGA, even though it`s possible to submit copyright online. I do not discourage WGA registration, and all the evidence regarding the creation and ownership of a scenario is valuable, but the registration of the WGA does not allow for legal damages and before litigation, the registration of copyright in the United States must be completed. Since registration takes time for the life of copyright, it makes a lot of sense to invest time in a true copyright statement. For WGA Schieds, production of the WGA Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement (MBA) should be submitted for WGA Schieds to apply. If the production company is a signatory to the WGA, then WGA Schieds would apply, and if both authors are members of the WGA, then the production company should become a signatory with WGA. With respect to a WGA Writer`s Collaboration Agreement takeover, the terms of such a takeover would be entirely determined by the manner in which the agreement was amended and concluded prior to signing. If the underlying life history rights were part of WGA Writer`s collaboration agreement, each buyback could relate to both the underlying rights and the scenario rights. Typically, a WGA Writer`s Collaboration Agreement does not address all of the rights and licensing issues that occur in a Life Story license. Life story rights are generally treated like all other underlying rights of a project, which means that they remain separate from the rights of the scenario and are acquired directly by the underlying rights holder. From a producer`s perspective, it would not be advisable to rely on the typical language of rights acquisition in a WGA Writer collaboration agreement to also acquire life rights.
As with any final case, please do not make a decision on complex issues without first consulting an experienced entertainment lawyer. I have represented feature film projects and television series for over 16 years. Please feel free to contact my office through an offer.- By Brandon Blake, Entertainment Lawyer Sometimes a writer contract will be part of an option/sales contract if additional paid conversion services are required.