Why Are Writers Entitled To Residuals?

The Guild was initially founded more than 60 years ago because writers wanted to ensure accurate credits and receive reasonable compensation for their work. At that time, compensation paid covered a writer’s initial services and that was the end of it. There were no residuals. The reason is that prior to the advent of television, there really were no aftermarkets or opportunity for use beyond the original release of a theatrical film.

The first television residuals provisions were negotiated in a 1953 Guild agreement and were for reuse of programs that were made for television. Residuals were negotiated in the belief that if a program was rerun, then there was less employment for new product. Residuals for the reuse of theatrical films on television were negotiated and covered in 1960. Generally, writers whose films were produced on or after June 13, 1960 received residuals for use on free television.