Catalan Antitrust Commission Fines Regional Screenwriters' Guild

The body fined the industry group $66,000 for publishing guidelines on payment rates for services associated with writing for the audiovisual sector.

Madrid – Catalonia's regional antitrust commission has fined the Catalan screenwriters' association $66,000 (50,000 euros) for publishing guidelines from 2000 to 2011 on payment rates for various services associated with writing for the audiovisual sector.

Despite the guild's argument that these rates were only tools to guide members (especially for newcomers) and since 2007 included a disclaimer saying that the rates published were not mandatory, the competition commission said that Spanish antitrust law considers price recommendations as violations.

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In addition, the decision said that because roughly 50 to 70 percent of the screenwriters in the region belong to the guild, these rates became the norm in practice. The guidelines also included recommendations on contract negotiations concerning expenses and merchandising.

The association said it will appeal the fine in court if Spanish authors' and publishers' society SGAE agrees to pay the legal fees.