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Buchwald Talent Agency Signs Writers Guild’s Code of Conduct

In another victory for the Writers Guild of America, the Buchwald Talent Agency has signed the WGA’s three-month-old Code of Conduct that allows the agency to represent WGA members.

It’s the third mid-sized Hollywood agency that’s agreed to abide by the terms of the new rules following Verve and Kaplan Stahler along with about 75 boutique agencies. The newly formed Culture Creative Entertainment announced Wednesday that it had also signed the Code.

The signings come as the WGA and major talent agencies continue their stalemate. The WGA called off negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents on June 21 in favor of pursuing individual talks with nine top agencies while it enforces a total ban on packaging fees and affiliated production for agents representing guild members. No new talks have been scheduled.

Following a strong vote of support in March from writers, the WGA instructed guild members on April 12 to “fire” their agents after the sides failed to reach an agreement on a new Code of Conduct that ended longstanding industry practices. The parties have turned to the courts to settle their differences, with the WGA suing the big four agencies, and three agencies so far — WME, CAA and UTA — suing the WGA back.

The WGA told members on Thursday that the agreement largely mirrors Monday’s agreement with the Kaplan Stahler Agency, with a few minor modifications including allowing a franchised agency to provide distribution services for indie film projects in addition to financing and sales services. The requirement for WGA consent of the agency’s film financing, sales and distribution services is modified to exclude circumstances when the agency’s agreement to provide those services predate the writer’s involvement on the project.

“Our goal remains to move the negotiation process forward with the remaining unsigned agencies,” the committee said.

Buchwald and Kaplan Stahler are members of the ATA, while Verve is not. The ATA declined to comment on the Buchwald news.

The lack of resolution has prompted two candidates — Phyllis Nagy and William Schmidt — to challenge current WGA West president David Goodman, who is seeking re-election. Both challengers have asserted that the guild needs to go back to negotiating with the major agencies to resolve the bitter standoff between the WGA and Hollywood agents.

The Buchwald news was first reported by Deadline.

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