WGA weaves in Web

Guild creates 'Net contract for scribes

To protect the rights of the growing number of scribes for online entertainment, the Writers Guild of America West has created a contract for writers who work on made-for-Internet programming, including live action and animation.

The contract provides that participating companies not already signatory to the Guild’s agreement must sign a Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA). Companies must also provide financial reports regarding Internet revenue.

“This contract is an important step for the WGA,” said exec director John McLean. “Writers who create programming for the Internet deserve protections.”

New regs

If material purchased for the Internet is used as the basis for a TV pilot or series, the writer will at least receive MBA minimums. If a made-for-Internet program is released in traditional media (broadcast TV, pay TV or video), a writer will receive MBA residuals as if the program was initially produced and released on broadcast TV.

Companies will be permitted to use materials under this contract for 18 months. After that time, they must comply with the next MBA or negotiate a residual for the additional use. Rights to purchased materials not used within two years will revert back to the writer.

Additionally, companies cannot buy out a writer’s rights.

The contract was presented Wednesday night to a panel discussion hosted by the WGAW and the Venice Interactive Community, a non-profit org dedicated to the digital media industry’s development.

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