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UK Society of Authors calls for TV shows to pay authors for research, appearances

The UK’s Society of Authors (SoA) is calling for television production companies to pay and credit consulting authors and historians for research they provide to producers of documentaries and historical shows, reports the Bookseller.

This follows a rise in the number of complaints from SoA members about not being paid or credited for factual TV shows that are based on books, or for background research provided to producers during the development stage.

SoA CEO Nicola Solomon told the Bookseller: ‘People are having their brains picked for information and having the impression they’ll be credited. They then find later they were just giving the background and someone else was used on the program instead. It’s incredibly galling.’

In conjunction with Pact, the UK trade association for media firms, SoA has released a set of guidelines for authors and TV producers that outlines best practice for production companies when engaging authors to provide background information and research.

The recommendations for producers include making it clear from the outset of the engagement if and how the author will be remunerated, and whether or not the producer is seeking information as background or is intending to use the author as a contributor in the program.

Historian Antony Beevor said that with the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up, he has been interviewed by documentary makers from six different countries.

‘I’m lucky I’m in a position where I can demand a fee,’ he told the Bookseller. ‘I think it’s so unfair on young historians. If they’re explaining their research and getting nothing I think that’s outrageous.’


Category: International news