Friday, June 04, 2010

Writers' Guild AGM supports new structure

The Writers’ Guild AGM today gave a strong endorsement to proposals put forward by the Chair, Robert Taylor, for a new structure that can take the organisation forward in the digital age.

The proposals, passed unanimously by Guild members, allow for the creation of:
  • A charity that will carry on the benevolent work of the Writers’ Guild Welfare Fund, but also enhance the status of writers by arranging educational and cultural events such as seminars, showcases and awards
  • A new collecting society to receive payments for online use of television programmes – such as BBC iPlayer and video-on-demand – and distribute the money to writers
  • The Books Co-op, which will help members to produce and market self-published books, concentrating on print-on-demand and ebooks
  • A new trustee company, with the existing trustees as directors, to take responsibility for the Guild’s finances, assets, premises and its responsibilities relation to the new companies.
Outlining the case for the changes (which were also set out in detail before the meeting ), Robert Taylor explained that the new structure was similar to the organisation of the writers’ guilds in America and Australia and would allow the Guild to extend its services to members without losing focus on its core work as a trade union.

The proposed creation of a new collecting society for digital payments was not intended as any kind of threat to ALCS, he explained – indeed, ALCS and the agents body the PMA have both been involved in discussions about the idea – but was a response to requests from broadcasters to find new, more efficient ways to distribute money in this growth area.

As Guild General Secretary, Bernie Corbett, added, the agreements that the Guild has made with broadcasters for digital payments will soon expire and it is important to develop a new model that while secure the best possible deal for writers. While the amounts of money involved are currently relatively modest, digital distribution is growing fast and the sums involved will increase.

Following the vote at the AGM, the Guild will now seek to take forward the proposals in discussions with other interested parties. (The Books Co-op has, in fact, already been set up)

There were no other major rule changes during the AGM, but Guild President, David Edgar, was returned for a second three-year term and Bernie Corbett was confirmed as General Secretary for a third five-year term.


  1. Anonymous5:49 pm

    Any serious contenders for Corbett's post this time?

    Any ballot done by members this time?

  2. There were many serious contenders for the post of WGGB General Secretary. The entire process was done strictly in accordance with Trade Union Law.

  3. Anonymous10:25 pm

    Why does the above questioner feel the need to ask this anonymously?

    Graham Lester George

  4. Anonymous2:04 am

    Why anonymous? I'd hate for someone like the above to threaten me with legal action for daring to voice my opinion like he did to a number of fellow E.C. members when he was Chair.

    I wonder if that's in Nick Yapps book.


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