Abrams Artists Agency Signs Writers Guild Code

Abrams Artists Agency

The agency breaks ranks with the agents’ association in doing so, marking a victory for the WGA.

Mid-tier talent firm Abrams Artists Agency has signed the Writers Guild of America code of conduct, the agency announced Wednesday, joining such agencies as Kaplan Stahler and Buchwald in breaking ranks with the Association of Talent Agencies. Two other agencies firmly in the writer business, Verve and Culture Creative Entertainment, are also signatories but not ATA members. Most of the other 70 or so signatories do not represent significant numbers of writers.

The code prohibits packaging and affiliate production, but those are concerns primarily to the four largest agencies, WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners, and to a lesser extent Paradigm and APA. But Abrams and other agencies have concerns around client confidentiality, since the code requires data sharing with the WGA. However, Abrams said the guild had addressed those concerns in a negotiated revision of the code.

“The writers had elections, and they overwhelmingly reelected David Goodman, one of the leaders of this strategy,” said Abrams chairman Adam Bold. “We feel that it is time to put the writers back to work, as well as our agents. The code of conduct as it stands now, is a much better document than it was before. For that reason, along with some of our negotiated changes, made it an agreement that we can stand behind.”

Abrams had previously tried to negotiate with the WGA in July but was unsuccessful at that time; three lit agents subsequently left to form Culture Creative. Two weeks ago, the guild said it was having “useful discussions with several individual agencies,” but didn’t name the firms.

More than 7,000 writers fired their agents in April, and the guild is locked in litigation with the three largest agencies, CAA, WME and UTA.