H'wood Producers: Stop Giving Phony Credits

Hollywood producers said Wednesday they want studios to stop giving bogus credits to people as a bargaining chip and say they'll go to court to limit the use of the "produced by" title.

Kathleen Kennedy, president of the Producers Guild of America (search), refused to specify who in the past has received a phony producer credit, saying she would not "name names" even though the issue is murky for the average moviegoer.

At a Wednesday press conference, Kennedy and others from the guild said they were asking studios to limit the credit and include language specifying the duties necessary to receive it into every would-be producer's contract.

Kennedy, whose credits include "Seabiscuit," (search) "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Back to the Future," (search) said too often a producer credit is given as a kind of compensation, boosting an actor, agent or manager's show-business resume and costing studios little or nothing.

Directors and writers have labor unions that dictate who can and cannot receive a credit, but producers don't have such regulation, she added.

"The studios did not set out to demean the producing credit," she said. "They simply discovered they could use the unregulated producer credit as a form of currency. When counterfeit currency is allowed to proliferate it devalues the whole system of currency."

If a credit is given unfairly, guild lawyers pledged to sue — not for money, but to force a studio to remove the credit.