News

iPhone Apps Go Union

December 8, 2009

NEW YORK CITY – The writers of iLarious have just become the first writers of content for an iPhone app to be represented by a labor union, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Under this agreement writers for apps such as “This Just In” (which delivers 10-15 jokes a day to the iPhone) will get to count their jokes written for the app towards WGAE health insurance and other benefits. Comedy writers covered by this new agreement hail from "The Daily Show", "The Onion", "Human Giant" and "Saturday Night Live" among other famous comedy programs.

iLarious went union because company founder and comedy writer Fred Graver is himself a member of the WGAE and knows how important union representation is to writers.

“iLarious was founded to be the leading entertainment and comedy brand on mobile, by a group of writers, producers and performers -- many of whom are members of the WGA,” said Graver.  “In a couple of years, mobile will be one of the dominant forces in our industry. It's important to the founders of iLarious that we bring the best talent to the table, and that we put a stake in the ground in this newly developing territory.  The new means of producing content allows us to be owners and creators at the same time -- and in the future, we look forward to being able to picket ourselves every few years.”

“Whatever the technology, writers will always benefit from membership in a creative community which is organized to advance their interests,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson.  “The job standards enjoyed by writers in film and broadcast TV were built over the years by creative people working together. Signing on with the WGAE is a very important step for creators of digital media to gain the standing and strength they deserve.”

In the past six months, the WGAE has signed 20 new companies creating content for digital media. These digital media companies who are covered by Writers Guild agreements have produced more than 25 web series currently available online and have additional series in development.  Writers at these companies will become WGAE members. These writers were organized as part of the WGAE’s Writers Guild 2.0 initiative and demonstrate that writers working in digital media are interested in union membership.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.