According to TheWrap, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) have asked IMDb, the popular Internet movie database, to remove the birth dates of its members (SAG is only asking that the site remove birth dates for its members who are not yet stars). The guilds are concerned that posting this information could lead to age discrimination. In an industry that has historically favored the young over the middle-aged, such fears may be well-founded – the WGA recently settled a major 10-year age discrimination suit against the networks, studios, and talent agencies. Nevertheless, the guilds may need to prepare themselves for a tough fight. Currently, IMDb will only remove a birth date if it is inaccurate, and the site’s co-founder believes that IMDb has a responsibility to its users to provide the most comprehensive data available.
Variety notes that the Writers Guild of America (“WGA“) is asking its members to approve a change to how credit is granted to “production executives” (i.e., writer-producers and writer-directors) on non-original scripts.
Currently, under the WGA Screen Credits Manual, in order to receive writing credit, a writer-director or writer-producer must contribute at least 50% of the screenplay if he or she is not the first writer. A non-hyphenate must only contribute more than 33%. The WGA Screen Credits Review Committee contends that the current rule encourages a writer offered a production credit to “think twice” before accepting the offer. In other words, the writer who has satisfied the lower threshold for non-hyphenates, but failed to meet the higher threshold required of production executives, may simply choose to forgo a producer credit if it means giving up a screenplay credit. Under the proposed amendment (pdf), production executives will receive a screenplay credit so long as they contribute more than 33% of the script. The committee believes that the proposed rule will make the credits system more fair to hyphenates. Inclusion of writer-producers and writer-directors will continue to trigger automatic arbitrations. The current credit rule for original screenplays will not change (writers receive credit for an original screenplay if they contribute more than 33% as first writer, or 50% as subsequent writer; production executives must contribute more than 50% to receive credit).
The board has already approved the changes. Members will now have the opportunity to submit statements opposing approval of the proposed changes. Voting by members will begin in late May. (Note: An informational meeting will be held for current members only at the WGA, West next Tuesday, April 20th.)
The WGA has also proposed two changes to the Television Credits Manual (“TVCM”). The first change would allow for an arbiter teleconference among the arbitrators and the Arbitration Consultant in the event that the Arbitration Committee is unable to come to a unanimous decision on a writing credit (the identities of the arbiters would remain anonymous). If the arbiters do not come to a unanimous decision during the teleconference, then the majority decision would be final. Currently, no teleconference is permitted. A similar change was added to the Screen Credits Manual in 2008.
The second proposed change would combine the TVCM and the Separation of Rights Manual (“SRM”) into one manual, reformat the document for improved clarity and understanding, and change existing language to more accurately reflect current policies and practices.
The document with all of the proposed amendments can be found here (pdf).