English-speaking directors'bodies from seven countries including the UK, US and Australia have signed acode of practice asserting the creative and economic rights of film and televisiondirectors.

The organisations, whichfeature two UK representatives as well as figureheads from Canada, Ireland andNew Zealand, also agreed to establish an affiliation known as the InternationalAssociation of English Speaking Director's Organisations.

The new body is intended topromote and protect directors' rights, in particular their role as the primarycreator of audiovisual works, which has long been a bone of contention amongfilm-makers.

"This is a major stepforward in the effort to protect the creative and economic rights of directorsthroughout the world," Directors Guild of America president Michael Apted saidin a statement.

Key provisions of the Codeof Practice for Directors of Audiovisual Works include the right to prepare adirector's cut, the right to a credit including a possessory credit, adequatecompensation and health benefits.