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. Of course, there will be many other provisions that will be defined in an option/sale contract, including sequel and remake rights, screen credits, bonuses and much more. A purchase contract is a simpler alternative to a more complex option/sale contract. While an option/purchase agreement can be 8 to 12 pages, a purchase agreement can only be one or two pages. And this brevity can also rationalize the time and cost of negotiating such an agreement. The Writers Guild of America has a good type agreement (albeit a bit basic) on its website. 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. Most screenwriters will face different types of legal agreements in their careers, but here are my first six.
Of course, I know that reading this article is not the same as law school or hiring an entertainment lawyer, but if you work in showbiz, you will probably meet most of them. Do you really want this to be a surprise? When the time comes, I would like readers to take active action to protect their interests. In fact, a replacement agreement with a lawyer is commonly referred to as an “engagement letter.” Essentially the same thing, but not as romantic as it sounds. 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. 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.