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WGA Wins Arbitration Allow More Writers To Reacquire Unproduced Works – Deadline

The Writers Guild is on a roll, prevailing in yet one more vital arbitration on behalf of its members – this time profitable a dispute involving a characteristic movie author’s proper to reacquire their unique, unproduced script that the guild says “paves the way for more similar rulings.”

The arbitrator’s ruling in that case follows a latest landmark “self-dealing” arbitration in opposition to Netflix that the guild says will end in a whole lot of writers on greater than 100 Netflix theatrical movies receiving an extra $42 million in underpaid residuals, and the settlement of an analogous arbitration in opposition to Amazon by which the WGA has collected greater than $4 million in underpaid residuals and curiosity on dozens of movies produced or acquired by the studio.

RELATED: WGA Collects Moer Than $4 Million In Settlement With Amazon Over Unpaid Residuals

In its newest win, within the case of a author reacquiring his unproduced unique script, the WGA West says in its present publication – WGAW Connect – that “not only is the award a win for the screenwriter, but the ruling is helpful to all screenwriters seeking to reacquire an unproduced script by clarifying that certain actions by the company simply aren’t enough to put a script in ‘active development’ in order to avoid the reacquisition process.”

Procedures for reacquisition contained within the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement state that “at any time during the two-year period immediately following expiration of the Company’s five- year period within which to actively develop the material, the writer may notify the Company in writing of the writer’s intent to reacquire the material.”

“As the creators of valuable intellectual property,” the guild notes, “screenwriters can often find a new buyer for a script that the original studio has failed to produce” – however provided that they will reacquire it.

RELATED: Landmark “Self-Dealing” Arbitration Found Netflix In “Violation” Of WGA Contracts

The arbitration stems from screenwriter Eric Warren Singer making an attempt to reacquire his screenplay, God Bless the Damned, from Indian Paintbrush Productions. He contacted the guild in April 2020, and the guild says that when it served the reacquisition discover, the company “claimed the material was in ‘active development’ and therefore couldn’t be reacquired.”

According to the guild:

“The company claimed the script was in ‘active development’ as a result of it had employed one other author to rewrite the fabric greater than two years earlier – however with none actual timeline for supply, and with no indication that the company was taking different vital steps to develop the script. In addition to the drawn-out rewrite, the company mentioned the fabric was being actively developed due to periodic ‘creative meetings’ and ‘lunches with agents.’

“None of this met the usual for lively improvement below the MBA, which contemplates the company expending substantial resources to be able to transfer the project alongside towards manufacturing. Therefore, the guild took the case to arbitration.

“The arbitrator agreed with the guild’s position that in order for a script to be in ‘active development,’ there must be a significant and ongoing financial commitment made by the company to develop the project, and ordered that the writer be provided the opportunity to reacquire his script.”

Singer says within the guild’s publication that he now could be in search of to set the project up with a brand new company. “There are maybe a handful of scripts that you just love, like old buddies,” he wrote. “This is one of those scripts for me. I love the story, the script, the characters; I have been so close to getting it made so many times. I hope the movie gets made, but even if it doesn’t, I’m still proud that we have the clarity of this decision to challenge the games companies play when trying to deny us of our rights under the MBA.”

Deadline reached out to Indian Paintbrush and can embrace its remark if the company responds.

The WGA West says it’s going to maintain an academic webinar about reacquisition later this fall.

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