Writers Will Now Sue Their Agents for Breach of Duty
The WGA just announced a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against CAA, WME, UTA, and ICM(major agenices) for violating state and federal laws with respect to the fiduciary duties to their writer-clients.
After the WGA and ATA failed to enter into an agreement renewing their partnership, nearly every writer in the WGA walked away from their agents last week. This caused a stir in Hollywood as lawyers and managers took over negotiating duties for the clients. This is an unprecedented split and another way the landscape of Hollywood is changing.
With the early rumblings of agencies going public those companies were not willing to step away from the extra profits garnered by packaging and their offer of a minuscule piece of back end didn't get the WGA excited to find common ground.
Now the bad blood has extended past the negotiating table and into the courtroom.
The suit against CAA, WME, ICM Partners and UTA has two claims:
1. Packaging fees violate state fiduciary duty laws
2. Those packaging fees violate federal unfair competition laws under the Taft-Hartley Act.
The WGA's packaging complaints are summed up nicely in this video:
Until each side comes to terms with the WGA's proposed "Code of Conduct" and the ATA's determination to keep the ability to package, it seems as if nothing can move forward. But we will know a lot more as negotiations resume soon. With the rise in digital and buyers and the loss of true star power, Hollywood continues to change. Each traditional role, from agent, manager, executive, lawyer, and producer continues to be redefined by what the current climate needs each role to perform.
You can listen to David Goodman of the WGA's entire speech about the conflict and negotiations here:
What's next? No more free writing!
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you. You go to a general meeting and sit with someone who has a great idea for a movie or TV show. They think you have the perfect voice to capture it. They tell you while there’s no money up front, if you write it for them on spec they’ll package it and help you take it out. Or maybe this has happened to you: You have a producer or company excited by your pitch, but they’re not a decision maker and swear they can get the idea up the ladder to a buyer. All they need from you is a treatment, or an outline, or some sort of document that they can rush to the top.
Well, the WGA is going to help you get PAID!
Click the link to find out how.