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09/03/2001

NEW DEAL ON TV DIRECTORS’ RIGHTS

BROADCASTERS have signed an agreement that recognises intellectual rights for directors.
Under the deal a seven-figure sum will be paid each year to the Directors and Producers Rights Society (DPRS) which will divide the money among directors according to the number of shows transmitted.
The agreement comes after a year of campaigning by DPRS, BECTU, and the Directors Guild of Great Britain (DGGB). Matters came to a head when hundreds of television directors signed their rights away to the DPRS, and refused to accept engagements with major broadcasters unless their creative rights were acknowledged.
Directors had been concerned that they were not receiving due recognition of their rights as co-authors of television programmes, and that there had been an erosion of their status and conditions of employment. Broadcasters and production companies, on the other hand, need to generate revenue from programme sales and re-broadcasts to re-invest in more original programming.
The details of the new agreement released by the three organisations include five main provisions:
A Joint Industry Forum will be established, meeting regularly and providing dialogue between directors and the broadcasting/production sector;
A Code of Practice will be drawn up to address the professional and artistic status of directors in the new broadcasting world;
Guidelines Of Best Contractual Practice will be drawn up to address the concerns of directors in areas such as prompt payment, termination, suspension, moral rights and time off;
There will be an ongoing examination of directors’ fees, organised by the joint industry forum;
Finally a new system will be established to recognise directors’ rights in the programmes on which they work. This will take the form of an annual Collective Payment by broadcasters to the DPRS, which will be responsible for the distribution of payments to individual directors.
The directors’ organisations and broadcasters all believe the agreement marks the beginning of a new relationship between directors and those who employ them.
A relationship that they hope will be based on mutual respect, fair remuneration and ongoing dialogue.
The agreement provides a stable framework in which it will be possible to address the inevitable changes that the rapidly evolving broadcasting world will force everyone involved in television production to confront. (CD)
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