Movies

Conglomerates not paying writers for new media: WGA

MUMBAI: The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has announced that the media conglomerates of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have failed to comply with the contract negotiated to end the Guild’s 100-day strike and are not paying residuals for writers’ work that is reused on new media.

The payment of residuals for new media reuse was a core issue of the WGA strike. The Guild is embarking on an aggressive contract enforcement program – including legal action – to ensure that the AMPTP companies make good on their obligations.

The WGAW filed for arbitration against the AMPTP over residuals – payments made for the reuse of writers’ works – for programmes sold as electronic downloads, referred to as Electronic Sell-Through (EST).


EST involves the sale of video content via the Internet and allows the purchaser to keep a copy of a program permanently on a computer hard drive or other device.


WGAW board member John F. Bowman says, “Our agreement with the companies on material released to EST covers feature films produced after July 1, 1971, and television programs produced after 1977.


“The companies have reneged on this agreement and are taking the position that only programmes produced after February 13, 2008 are covered by the new provision. This may be their deal with the DGA, but that was never our agreement. Every proposal we made during negotiations made clear our position that library product was covered, and the AMPTP never objected to that position. The Guild will not allow this to stand.”


The Guild is also preparing to file for arbitration against the AMPTP companies for failing to pay residuals due for the streaming of television shows on the Internet.






WGAW executive director David Young says, “Our tracking has shown that episodes are staying on websites longer than the 17-day initial window called for in the contract. This triggers the payment of a residual, but so far we’ve seen nothing.


“Given the reports by the conglomerates of the growth of the number of shows being streamed and increases in new media revenues, this is an unacceptable situation.”


WGAW president Patric M. Verrone says,, “In light of the fact that writers are not being paid for new media reuse, it’s unconscionable that the AMPTP proclaims on its website, ‘By working under an expired contract, SAG members are not receiving the new media residuals that other Guild members are already collecting,’.


“The companies know what is being reamed, and they regularly announce how successful they are in generating online advertising revenue, so there’s no reason for them not to honour the agreement they made with us.”

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