Verve is in talks with the WGA to sign the guild’s new Code of Conduct. As of now, the talent and literary agency has not signed, and sources say it won’t unless certain modifications are made to the code.
Numerous open points remain, and a source tells Deadline the agency is now waiting to hear whether the guild is willing to modify the terms. If a deal is reached – and it could happen soon – it would be the biggest win yet in the WGA’s campaign to “divide and conquer” the agency business. Verve is not a member of the Association of Talent Agents, but its signing would make it the biggest lit agency to sign the code so far.
To date, 66 small agencies have signed – only one of which, Pantheon, is an ATA member.
Sources say several other mid-sized agencies have also been in talks with the guild including at least one that is a member of the ATA.
Verve, which represents more than 300 writers, doesn’t do much packaging and has no ties to affiliated production entities, which are banned in the new code. But sources say that two elements of the code have proven tumbling blocks to a deal. Verve and others considering signing don’t like the provision that would allow the guild to terminate or modify the terms of the code with only 90 days’ notice. They are also balking at a requirement that all signatory agencies must agree to “provide the guild with a copy of the agreement or a summary of essential deal terms of any agreement engaging the writer’s services.”
“These things can blow up,” an agency source said, “but they keep coming back, so it’s a negotiation.”