Directors UK, BBC agree to Creative Rights deal

The British pubcaster and the industry association have drafted an agreement that more clearly defines the roles and rights of directors working on BBC in-house productions.
March 29, 2012

The BBC and industry association Directors UK have come up with an agreement detailing the rights and responsibilities for directors working on BBC in-house productions.

“We’ve been looking for a way of defining the role of the director more clearly for the modern era, and for a way of ensuring that the contribution of directors can be properly plugged into the BBC’s thinking on a range of strategic issues,” said Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns in a statement. “This is a real breakthrough for us.”

Dubbed the ‘Creative Rights’ deal, the agreement sets out the roles of directors in two documents – one for drama and one for factual programs – such as affirming directors’ copyright in their programs; setting out the requirement for advance disclosure and consultation on key creative elements and production information, such as budgets, scripts and contributors.

The agreement also deals with outlining directors’ rights and responsibilities through all the stages of production and post-production, including the exclusive right to make an uninterrupted first cut; options for the director to create re-versions and re-edits; and options for the director of a pilot to direct further series and rights to program credits.

The partnership also includes initiatives to support career and talent development. Going forward, there will also be more high-level interaction between the British pubcaster and Directors UK around strategic issues, such as program strategies, talent development, compliance and diversity in commissioning.

In a statement, BBC director-general Mark Thompson said the agreement “represents¬† a sustainable and contemporary relationship between BBC production and the directing community. We recognize that directors are pivotal to delivering our output and place importance on growing this relationship in an engaging and meaningful way.”


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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.