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Condé Nast wants a cut of writers' film, TV deals

Date January 14, 2013

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Condé Nast, stricken by the publishing industry's budgetary woes, is claiming rights to its contract writers' articles if they are optioned for a film or television show.

New contracts obtained by the New York Times showed that the magazine giant staked its ownership to articles that attract Hollywood's attention, claiming exclusive rights over a story for 30 days to one year.

Under the new contract, writers would receive $2,500 to $5,000 for a 12-month option. Articles that are developed into feature films would earn the authors less than 1 percent - or about $150,000 - of the purchase price.

"As we expand into digital, film and television entertainment," a Nast spokesman said in a statement to TheWrap, "we are excited to bring the extraordinary work of our writers and photographers to these platforms, showcase their content in new ways, and create expanded opportunities for their work to be enjoyed by new audiences."

Television shows and made-for-TV movies are capped at even lower amounts, and one unnamed agent told the Times that its "bottom-of-the-barrel pricing."

"There's no reason my clients who are the premier writers in the country should be shackled by this agreement that forces them to accept very low prices and also take their project off the market," the agent told The Times.

Nast owns a vast array of top-shelf magazines, including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wired.

Many writers at the publishing heavyweight already work under one-year contracts devoid of basic employee benefits, such as a 401(k) plan or health insurance. However - as opposed to newspapers, which own rights to reporters' work - contract magazine writers usually maintain rights to their work.

A representative from the Authors Guild, which has helped lead the march against signing the new contracts, did not immediately respond to calls and emails from TheWrap for comment.

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