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WGA Tells Members to Can Their Agents...For Now

Writers Guild of America East and West have converged to tell their members to discharge their talent agents, at least for the moment or unless they sign this Code of Conduct, since the two sides failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.

"First, do not allow a non-franchised agent to represent you with respect to any future WGA-covered work," said WGAE. "Second, notify your agency in a written form letter that they cannot represent you until they sign the Code of Conduct."

Among other things, the guilds are not happy that their agents also get to be their programming producers, saying that is a conflict of interest.

The code makes it clear that: "No Agent shall have an ownership or other financial interest in, or shall be owned by or affiliated with, any entity or individual engaged in the production or distribution of motion pictures."

The guilds said they were willing to continue to talk, but in the meantime their members should not be represented by the agents.

"In a complex, changing, yet immensely profitable time in our industry, writers need true allies, not deeply conflicted ones," said WGAW. "It is for this idea—simple, old-fashioned and un-revolutionary—that we stand—and for which we come together as a Guild again today."

The Association of Talent Agents had been given a week to come up with an accpetable proposal for a new Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement (AMBA), but WGA said they did not.

"Among other unacceptable proposals, the agencies insist on continuing their major conflicts of interest. They insist on continuing to produce and be our employers," WGAW told members in an email. "Their 'offer' on packaging is to share 1% of their packaging fee with writers."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.