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WGA vs. AMPTP

By Nate Barlow     Jul 13, 2007 in Entertainment
Several weeks ago I wrote about the upcoming labor negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and how user-generated video could be the great undoing of the Guild’s stance.
The irony is that Internet pay formulas on studio- and network-generated content are the hot-button items of contention around which these negotiations will center.
In the past few days, the war-of-words prequel to these negotiations has reached a fever pitch, again focused on Internet residuals, of which the writers feel they receive too little (if they receive any at all). According to The Hollywood Reporter, a studio briefing on Wednesday had management suggesting that a study be undertaken on how to eliminate writers’ revenue participations. AMPTP president Nick Counter wants to delay any changes to new-media compensation three years “for an impact study”, a position completely untenable to the writers. Even ignoring the loss of potential income over those three years, such a wait could be absolutely devastating to the WGA ever grabbing a sizable piece of the Internet pie.
The studios are so concerned about new-media compensation that rumors abound that they may be very open to concessions on other bargaining points — which, by all accounts, also seem to be of lesser importance to the writers.
This war is going to be ugly, with far-reaching consequences for all of the entertainment industry. The sad thing is, it may all be for naught, with whoever emerges victorious scoring a Pyrrhic victory at best.
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