24 September 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Screenwriters publish new ‘created by’ credit guidelines

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) has published a new practice guide for crediting screenwriters working in British broadcasting, with the aim of standardising IP rights allotted by the “created by” credit.

The best-practice guidelines, published Thursday 23 September by the WGGB has been backed by several prominent British screenwriters, including “House of Cards” and “Bleak House” creator Andrew Davies.

Writers listed under the “created by” credit are provided certain IP rights, royalties and residuals. However, the credit’s application is not subject to “any rigorous or consistent definition”, according to the WGGB.

This means that writers doing the same work on different shows may be rewarded with the credit on one show and not another, and non-writers can claim “created by” credits.

To help clarify crediting standards for British TV screenwriters the WGGB has published ‘The ‘created by’ credit: A good practice guide for TV writers and those who work with them’.

The guide includes definitions of key terms such as ‘pilot screenplay’, ‘series pitch document’ and ‘series bible’ and explores how to approach joint authorship and co-authorship, adaptations, copyright law and more.

Emma Reeves, chair, WGGB TV said: “Having chaired the WGGB TV Committee for over seven years, I have become increasingly aware that in scripted drama, there is no standard industry practice for attributing creators’ credits or assigning the potentially lucrative ownership of IP.”

Many prominent British screenwriters have backed the guide, including Simon Allen, Andrew Davies, Stephen Gallagher, Tahsin Guner, Maurice Gran, Lisa Holdsworth, Dennis Kelly, Sophie Petzal, Ashley Pharoah, Anna Symon and Sandi Toksvig.

WGGB president Sandi Toksvig said: “Our best-loved TV shows are born from the creative brilliance, imagination, skilful execution and craft of British screenwriters, yet many are not receiving the credit they deserve as creators, not to mention the financial remuneration and protection of their rights.

“[The practice guidelines] will bring the UK in line with international standards and become a guiding light for writer-creators and all those who work with them.”

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