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The Write Stuff - Writers Adopt New Charter

The Write Stuff - Writers Adopt New Charter

The New Zealand Writers Guild has adopted a bill of rights for script writers.

The Writers Charter sets out the minimum rights that writers should be afforded.

The rights listed cover proper acknowledgement, fair payment, freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, the right to protect work from misuse and the right of free association.

The Charter also highlights the fact that although any moving image is shaped through collaborative effort, it is the script created by the writer which is the foundation of the entire process.

"Like any bill of rights it is an aspirational document," says NZWG Executive Director Dominic Sheehan. "But it also has a practical aspect. Each right listed in the Charter can be directly linked to the working lives of writers - whether it be how much they are paid, how they are given credit or how their work is used."

Why has the NZWG adopted this Charter? "Because most writers are contractors we are not able to access collective bargaining legislation to negotiate minimum agreements for writers," says Sheehan. "We are still working to change that but without any set minimum standards in our industry we believe we needed to make a statement about what we believe is the bottom line."

"We encourage writers, and those who engage writers, to make themselves familiar with the Charter and to abide with its principles. If a writer feels they have been treated in a way not in keeping with the Charter then they should contact the NZWG."

The Charter, set out below, is also available on the NZWG website -

The Writers Charter

The Writer is the creator and originator of a script that is the foundation for all the collaborative effort that follows.

The Writer has the following rights:
* The right to be credited fully and appropriately as the author of their work.
* The right to fair payment for all uses of their work.
* The right to freedom of expression.
* The right to freedom from discrimination.
* The right to protect their work from distortion or misuse.
* The right of free association, including to act collectively with other writers.


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