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Hollywood Writers Strike For Internet Dollars

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Film and TV writers are striking for the first time in almost twenty years after the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers were unable to reach an agreement.

The contract between the 12,000-member Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers lapsed on October 31. Negotiations that started this summer did not make much progress on the writer’s request for a larger portion of DVD profits and revenue from the distribution of films and TV shows on the Internet.

Writers Guild of America Writers and producers met for negotiations Sunday at the request of a federal mediator. The two parties were in talks for close to 11 hours before East Coast members of the writers union said via their Web site that the strike had started for their 4,000 members. Producers said writers turned down a request to "stop the clock" on the strike while negotiations continued. Producers called the writer’s decision to strike unfortunate and irresponsible.

Writers said they dropped a proposal requesting a larger share of revenue from the sale of DVDs that had been an issue for producers. They added that proposals by producers about the Internet reuse of TV episodes and films were not acceptable. "The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July," writers said.

This is the first strike by writers since 1988. That strike lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry over $500 million.

Programming that will be immediately affected are talk shows like "Late Night with David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno" which will begin airing reruns today. Next to feel the impact would be sitcoms and soap operas, followed by dramas.

Movies will not feel the impact of the strike for several months, but the strike could stall production for movies that are scheduled to be released in 2008.

Hollywood Writers Strike For Internet Dollars
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  • B

    One of the main issues is the current DVD profit sharing system that the studios use and want to apply to internet fees. I have a movie that was released. I get 4 cents (yes four pennies) for every copy sold. On average my DVD sells for 12.99. The 4 cents is hardly worth the check it is printed on. Writers are asking for that number to go to 8 cents. A terrible deal, still but an improvement. The companies who burn the DVD’s make more (much more) than 4 cents. Think of a rockstar…they get a few bucks on an album sale. Actors and Directors get slightly better deals (a few cents more), but still the studios are making tons…tons of money. And when DVD’s go away, downloading will be king…and a cheaper king, at that. So studios will make even more.

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