China: 影视剧本质量验收的实践探索

Last Updated: 28 March 2019
Article by Zhijun Liu
Most Read Contributor in China, July 2019

剧本质量验收问题,是横亘在出品单位与编剧之间的"行业之痛"。听任出品单位的"生死判断",或听任"咖级编剧"的"以暴制暴",两种极端做法均不可取。缺少制衡的权利,必然悖离合同法的公平和对等原则。行业需要思考对合同两方进行有效的权利制衡,大胆借鉴其他行业和好莱坞的成熟经验,尽可能兼顾合同两方的合理利益,不断探索新思路。

我们想到,是否可以将"权利赎回机制"引入到《影视剧本委托创作合同》,通过"三次通知"方式,对合同两方进行权利再平衡,给到合同两方充分表明态度的合同权利和商业博弈空间。

一、质量验收是合同核心条款

影视剧本对影视剧的重要性,可以用两句话归纳总结,影视剧本内容是影视剧内容的创作之源,而影视剧本著作权是影视剧著作权的权利之源。

影视剧本合同,是约定出品单位(制片者)与编剧(创作者)的权利义务关系的法律契约。一般来讲,影视剧本合同大体上可以分为三种基本类型,即《影视剧本著作权转让合同》、《影视剧本著作权许可使用合同》与《影视剧本委托创作合同》。

对于《影视剧本著作权转让合同》和《影视剧本著作权许可使用合同》,影视剧本内容在合同签订之初通常已完稿或基本完稿,合同两方一般不会因剧本的内容和质量问题产生争议(剧本涉嫌抄袭的情况除外)。但是对于《影视剧本委托创作合同》,影视剧本在合同签订之初通常尚未开始创作或尚处于故事策划阶段(合同标的有待形成),在合同履行过程中,对于陆续创作形成剧本的内容和质量,合同两方往往各执一词,并产生争议。因此,剧本质量验收条款至关重要。

剧本质量验收,就是委托方对受托方完成的剧本内容进行审核和验收,包括了对影视剧本的阶段性创作成果和最终创作成果的一次(或者多次)审核和验收,例如故事梗概、人物小传、故事大纲、分集大纲、分场大纲、剧本初稿和剧本定稿等。

本文将重点探讨《影视剧本委托创作合同》的剧本质量验收问题。

二、清晰量化的验收标准

剧本质量验收,前提是设定清晰量化的验收标准。但是由于文学艺术创作的特殊性,合同两方很难对剧本质量约定量化标准(剧本字数的形式约定,并不是我们探讨的质量标准)。

在实践中,关于剧本质量要求,现有合同中常见的约定是:独立创作,主题思想积极,内容健康向上,艺术构思完整,人物性格鲜明,故事情节跌宕起伏,较高文化品位,符合优秀影视剧拍摄要求。类似笼统和模糊的质量标准,往往形同虚设,不具有实操性。

在实践中,因为剧本质量产生争议诉至法院后,由于合同两方对剧本质量和艺术水准往往各执一词,法院无从判断,通常也无法委托第三方对剧本质量和艺术水准进行司法鉴定。例如:北京无休演艺经纪有限公司与王某委托创作合同纠纷案、北京英嘉世纪影视文化传媒有限公司与焦某某委托创作合同纠纷案、完美星空传媒有限公司与熊某委托创作合同纠纷案、北京中恒星云传媒有限公司与王某委托创作合同纠纷案等。

清晰量化的验收标准,一直在路上。

三、质量验收的"霸王条款"

由于合同两方客观上无法约定清晰量化的验收标准,在出品单位占有强势市场地位的特定背景下,编剧眼中的"霸王条款"应运而生:

编剧应当按照合同约定的创作进度提交剧本阶段性成果和最终成果,出品单位有权对剧本阶段性成果和最终成果进行验收。若出品单位认可的,应当向编剧支付相对应阶段的酬金。若出品单位认为有必要进行修改的,编剧应按照出品单位的意见进行修改,直至达到出品单位的修改要求为止。若经两次(或三次)修改仍然无法达到出品单位要求(或者编剧拒绝按照出品单位的要求进行修改的),出品单位有权单方终止合同。在此情况下,出品单位已付酬金无需退还,出品单位未付酬金无需支付。编剧已经交付的剧本阶段性成果和最终成果的著作权归属出品单位享有,出品单位有权约请第三方继续进行二度创作,署名权(包括编剧署名次序),根据每一位编剧的创作比例(贡献大小),由出品单位决定。

一句话,出品单位凭借主观标准判断剧本质量是否符合自己的要求,单方决定了剧本的"生与死"。

前述"霸王条款"必然无法公允解决剧本的质量验收问题。据不完全统计,涉及剧本质量验收的纠纷案件数量,占到《影视剧本委托创作合同》全部纠纷案件数量的50%以上。剧本质量验收问题,成为横亘在出品单位与编剧之间长期无法化解的"行业之痛"。

四、验收争议的深层原因

合同两方因剧本质量验收产生争议存在诸多原因。

例如:"武无第二,文无第一",出品单位与编剧固守己见;某些编剧创作能力或创作态度不佳;某些出品单位反复调整创作方向和创作风格,编剧放弃创作本心,疲于周旋;判断剧本质量的优劣,在某种程度上存在随意性和盲目性;在特定商业背景和商业目的之下,某些出品单位与编剧对剧本质量的态度,有时与剧本质量本身优劣无关。换言之,为了"说不"而"说不",为了"说是"而"说是"。

影视行业呼唤契约精神和诚信精神。

五、解决质量验收问题的有益尝试

影视行业和编剧们共同做了诸多有益尝试,试举几例:

尝试1:

如产生重大分歧,以上级审查机关(国家广电总局重大革命和历史题材审查小组)意见为准。

我们知道,审查小组主要是针对"重大题材或涉及国家安全、外交、民族、宗教、军事等方面题材"进行"政治属性"审查,大量影视剧并不需要审查小组审查。对剧本质量、艺术水准及剧本市场机会的综合考量,最终还需要合同两方的判断。

尝试2:

如产生重大分歧,邀请合同两方均认可的专家组织论证会,以论证意见为准。

我们知道,如果要共同选定第三方专家,如何保障第三方专家意见的公允性,其选定过程必然产生新的烦恼。

尝试3:

如产生重大分歧,以剧本参赛征文获奖的标准认定。

我们知道,剧本创作最终面对的是市场,剧本题材和风格千差万别,套用"作文评分"方式显然不妥,也不易被合同两方认同。

尝试4:

如产生重大分歧,限定编剧修改的次数,例如约定"如编剧完成三次修改后,视同编剧完成创作工作"。

我们知道,只有个别"咖级编剧"可以享受这样的验收待遇,这样的约定不具有普遍操作性。此外,这种方式实际上是"以暴制暴",或有剥夺出品单位合理权益之嫌。

六、合同两方权利制衡的新探索

听任出品单位的"生死判断",或听任"咖级编剧"的"以暴制暴",两种极端做法均不可取。缺少制衡的权利,必然悖离合同法的公平和对等原则。行业需要思考对合同两方进行有效的权利制衡,大胆借鉴其他行业和好莱坞的成熟经验,尽可能兼顾合同两方的合理诉求,不断探索新思路。

我们想到,是否可以将"权利赎回机制"引入到《影视剧本委托创作合同》,通过"三次通知"方式,对合同两方进行权利再平衡,给到合同两方充分表明各自态度的合同权利和商业博弈空间。

简言之:

第一次通知,若出品单位不认可剧本质量(包括阶段性成果和最终成果),出品单位首先有权向编剧发出"单方终止合同"通知,通知核心:要求终止《影视剧本委托创作合同》,出品单位已付酬金无需退还,出品单位未付酬金无需支付。编剧已经交付的剧本阶段性成果和最终成果的著作权归属出品单位享有(编剧署名权除外)。

赋予编剧在约定期限内的选择权。

第二次通知,若编剧接受出品单位第一次通知要求,出品单位第一次通知内容随即生效。

若编剧不接受出品单位第一次通知要求,编剧可在约定期限内向出品单位发出反通知,反通知核心:同意终止《影视剧本委托创作合同》,出品单位已付酬金全部退还(是否全额退还,合同两方可事先约定),出品单位未付酬金无需支付。编剧已经交付的剧本阶段性成果和最终成果的著作权,由编剧赎回。

赋予出品单位在约定期限内的选择权。

第三次通知,若出品单位接受编剧反通知要求,编剧反通知内容随即生效。

若出品单位不接受编剧反通知要求,出品单位可在约定期限内再次向编剧发出通知,通知核心:双方确定终止《影视剧本委托创作合同》,出品单位已付酬金无需退还,但是出品单位未付酬金需要按照合同事先约定的比例继续补足支付予编剧(针对各个创作阶段,合同两方可事先约定与此相对应的补足比例)。编剧已经交付的剧本阶段性成果和最终成果的著作权归属出品单位享有(编剧署名权除外)。

小结:

"三次通知"方式,或许不适用"咖级编剧",因为"咖级编剧"完全可以凭借身份获得公平对话的权利。"三次通知"方式,不适用"新手编剧",因为"新手编剧"或许没有机会与出品单位商讨"三次通知","新手编剧"或许没有底气行使"反通知"权利。"三次通知"方式,或许适用于中间层编剧群体,给到中间层编剧群体放手博弈的机会和空间。

对于原创剧本,编剧赎回剧本著作权之后,可以尝试与其他出品单位展开新的商业合作,或许各花入各眼,柳暗花明又一村。但对于委托改编创作剧本而言,受限于改编作品著作权的相对性,编剧赎回剧本著作权,更大的意义在于和出品单位展开博弈,通过博弈争取自己满意的创作价值,或者,合同两方回归到《影视剧本委托创作合同》的继续履行。

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