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Abrams Artists Agency Offers to Drop Packaging Fees and Affiliate Productions

It breaks with other agencies in dispute with Writers Guild

In a break with other talent agencies, Abrams Artists Agency said Monday it is willing end its involvement in packaging and in affiliate productions if the Writers Guild of America will permit it to represent guild members, an Abrams spokesperson told TheWrap.

The move makes Abrams only the second agency to go back into business with the WGA since April, when the guild implemented a tough new code of conduct for agents designed to curb packaging and affiliate productions, which the guild calls conflicts of interest. In May, literary and talent agency Verve became the first to do so.

But Verve is not a member of the Association of Talent Agents, the group representing major agencies in their dispute with WGA. Abrams is an ATA member, according to the agency spokesperson.

Abrams chairman Adam Bold told The Hollywood Reporter┬áthat he will personally call WGA executive director David Young to make the offer on Tuesday morning. Bold said Abrams isn’t going to sign the WGA code of conduct, citing requirements about information sharing as particularly objectionable. But it will abide by any agreement that may ultimately be reached between WGA and ATA, according to THR.

Representatives for WGA and ATA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

In contrast to Abrams, the biggest agencies are for the most part playing legal hardball with WGA. When the WGA code of conduct went into effect, writers were required to fire their agents en masse and in recent weeks, UTA, WME and most recently CAA have filed lawsuits accusing the guild of violating antitrust laws.

In its lawsuit, filed Monday, CAA said that the boycott is not ordinary labor union activity and “vastly” exceeds any exemption from the antitrust laws that the WGA may have for its ordinary activities as a labor union.

For its part, the guild on Friday sent a cease and desist letter to ATA, accusing the organization and its member agencies of engaging in “collusive actions” and “anticompetitive behavior.”