Working Rules

The Guild may, from time to time, adopt Working Rules governing the working relationship of members with employers, agents and others with whom writers have professional dealings in connection with writing services.

A proposed Working Rule shall be adopted only if the Council shall approve submitting such proposed Working Rule to the membership by mail ballot in conjunction with a membership meeting, and if the voting members of the Guild and of Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. voting in person or by such mail ballot, shall approve same by a majority vote (provided, however, the vote of the members of the Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., shall not be required in connection with any working rule, the operation of which would be contrary to the law of the State of California).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, no working rule shall be deemed operative or effective if it is contrary to any provision of this Constitution and By- Laws, or if its operation causes a breach of any provisions of any contract entered into by the Guild.

The determination of whether any working rule is inoperative and ineffective, by virtue of the immediately preceding sentence, shall be decided in the discretion of the Council.

A violation of any working rule shall be grounds for discipline within the meaning of Subparagraph A of Article X hereof.



  1. A Code of Working Rules Enforcement Committee has been appointed by the Council to govern compliance with these Rules; to recommend the institution of disciplinary action; to conduct hearings, make findings, and to recommend the imposition of fines for violation of these Rules. Where specific fines are not stated in the Rules, the Committee may recommend a fine which it believes proper under the circumstances. Every member shall have the right to appeal adverse decisions of the Committee in accordance with the Constitution of the Guild.
  2. Each member shall comply with these Rules in spirit as well as in letter.


  1. All agreements and contracts between writers and producers must be in writing.

    Each member must promptly file with Guild office a copy of his/her contract of employment (whether such agreement provides for leasing of material, participation in profits or residuals or otherwise), in no case later than one (1) week after the receipt of the contract. In addition to any other disciplinary action which may be recommended by the Working Rules Committee, an automatic fine shall be levied upon a member who fails to file his/her contract within two (2) weeks after written notice that there is no contract on record.
  2. No member shall do any work, including reviewing stock film, before the commencement of a definite assignment under contract.
  3. Each member shall comply with the terms of the Minimum Basic Agreements in spirit as well as in letter, and shall not accept any employment, sign any contract, or make any arrangement for employment which violates such Minimum Basic Agreements.
  4. No member shall contract for employment with any producer upon terms less favorable than those set forth in the Minimum Basic Agreements. Violation of this rule shall subject the member to disciplinary action and a fine — to be determined by the Working Rules Committee — of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) or, on flat deals where the amount of money involved exceeds two thousand dollars ($2,000), not more than one hundred percent (100%) of the amount received for such writing.
  5. No member shall make or enter into any contract or participate in any venture requiring the writing of any literary material by such writer whereby writer’s initial compensation for the writing of such material shall be less than the minimums set forth in the attached Schedules except with the specific written approval of the Guild, which approval may be granted only under special circumstances. In the case of joint ventures or other similar engagements or deals involving participation in profits, a waiver may be granted only where the writer’s participation is substantial.
  6. No member shall accept employment with, option or sell literary material to, any person, firm or corporation who is not a signatory to the applicable Minimum Basic Agreement.

    Violation of this Rule shall automatically subject the member to a fine, the maximum amount of which shall not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the remuneration received from such non-signatory.
  7. It shall be the responsibility of each member to report in confidence to the Guild office, for appropriate action, any violation or abuses of the terms and working standards established by the current Minimum Basic Agreements and Code of Working Rules, including any “offers” of employment which violate the current Minimum Basic Agreements.

    NOTE: If you are offered employment in the syndicated transcription field, please notify the Executive Director before commencing employment. Radio and Television members should also report all sales of second or subsequent uses of material for which they have leased a single use only. The information supplied will be used on a basis to formulate demands for minimums in these areas.
  8. No member may enter into a contract for the rendition of writing services with any producer whose name is contained in the then current Guild unfair list unless such producer shall have first posted a bond with the Guild guaranteeing the full amount of the writer’s proposed compensation pursuant to such contract.

    Violation of this rule shall automatically subject the member to a fine the maximum amount of which may not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of his/her remuneration pursuant to such contract and the minimum amount of which shall be no less than two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) or the applicable minimum, whichever is lower.
  9. No member shall participate in any arrangement for ghost writing.

    Violation of this Rule shall subject the member to disciplinary action and a fine – to be determined by the Working Rules Committee – of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) or in cases where the amount of money involved exceeds two thousand dollars ($2,000), not more than one hundred percent (100%) of the amount received or paid for such writing.
  10. Each member upon being assigned under an employment contract is required to ascertain from the proper authorities in the production company the name or names of any other writers currently assigned to the same material. It will be the obligation of the member to notify the other writers on the property of the fact that s/he has been assigned to it.
  11. Each member shall report to the Guild any engagement as a producer, director or executive, or any activities which involve the hiring and firing of writers.


  1. No member shall work for a producer on speculation or under any arrangement in which payment is contingent on approval or ability to pay. Members may, however, discuss their thoughts and reactions regarding material owned by the producer; it is recommended however, that in such cases the writer should make a written memorandum of any suggestions made by him/her and register this material at the Guild office.

    Violation of this Rule shall subject the member to disciplinary action and a fine – to be determined by the Working Rules Committee – of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000), or on flat deals where the amount of money involved exceeds two thousand dollars ($2,000), not more than one hundred percent (100%) of the amount received for such writing.


  1. No member shall accept credit which misrepresents the member’s contribution to a picture or program.
  2. Members shall accept, abide by and contract for credit only in accordance with the terms and provisions of the applicable Minimum Basic Agreements; and members shall cooperate fully with the Guild Credits Committee in order that all credits shall properly reflect the writer’s contribution to the final script.
  3. Each member shall promptly report to the Guild all writing credits received on pictures or programs produced by non-signatory producers.
  4. If a writer performing duties as a production executive intends to claim collaboration credit, he/she must, at the time he/she starts to work as a writer, signify such intention in writing to the Guild and to any other writer or writers assigned to the script. Failure to comply will subject the member to disciplinary action. In order to be entitled to credit, such production executive must be able to furnish the Guild with written material of his/her own, which can be identified as his/her contribution to the finished script.


  1. A writer must use his/her own name in all writing credits unless he/she has already established a pseudonym or registers one at the Guild office before commencement of employment on a writing assignment, or before disposition of any rights to literary material on which he/she wishes to use such pseudonym.


  1. For the purposes only of these Rules, original stories, series and program ideas and original radio, screen and teleplays shall be defined as material which is the sole creation of the member or members and which is written by the member or members on his/her or their own time.
  2. Each member shall promptly file with the Guild office a copy of his/her original story, series or program idea, and/or original radio, screen or teleplay sales or leasing contract, which filing shall in no event be later than one week after receipt of such contract.
    NOTE: Members are strongly urged to register all literary material which they own with the Registration Service maintained at the Guild office prior to offering such material for sale or other exploitation. While such registration is not a substitute for the statutory copyright which must be obtained on publication of the work, it is extremely helpful if suit is brought for any copyright infringement or plagiarism of the material.


  1. The Writers Guild of America, East, Inc. has adopted and approved the agreement between the Screen Writers Guild and the consenting trade publications condemning the following practices as unfair:
  1. Slanting reviews on account of advertising, or retaliating against a writer for failure to advertise.
  2. Using pressure from a writer’s employer to get advertising.
  3. Engaging in any harassing practices, such as making repeated solicitation, asking for chain advertising, or soliciting an advertisement in connection with a particular picture before the picture has been previewed (or a particular show or series before the program has been broadcast).The consenting trade publications have instructed their staffs to refrain from engaging in any of the above practices.Members should immediately notify the Guild of any violation of the Code of Fair Practices.


  1. No writer shall enter into a representation agreement whether oral or written, with any agent who has not entered into an agreement with the Guild covering minimum terms and conditions between agents and their writer clients.


  1. Each member shall inform the Guild of his/her residence address and agent and will immediately advise the Guild of any changes thereof.

    A member whose address is outside the United States shall inform the Guild immediately upon his entry into the United States.

    The Guild must be able to contact a member whenever necessary.

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