Director’s Guild reaches agreement with AMPTP

So after all the hullabaloo about the writer’s going on strike and not getting treated fairly, etc. we have to question the leadership of the writer’s guild. Quietly the director’s guild reached a new three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

It’s a tentative deal and still has to be ratified by the 13,500 some odd directors out there. But here’s the skinny:

  • Establishing DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet
  • Boosting the residuals formula for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) by double the current rate
  • And establishing residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.

Wow, it’s almost like the AMPTP did this just to spike the poor writers. Surprisingly, the striking writers had no immediate response to this tentative deal.

?This was a very difficult negotiation that required real give and take on both sides,? said DGA president Michael Apted said in a statement. ?Nonetheless, we managed to produce an agreement that enshrines the two fundamental principles we regard as absolutely crucial to any employment and compensation agreement in this digital age: First, jurisdiction is essential. Without secure jurisdiction over new-media production — both derivative and original — compensation formulas are meaningless. Second, the Internet is not free. We must receive fair compensation for the use and reuse of our work on the Internet, whether it was originally created for other media platforms or expressly for online distribution.?

Essentially, the same things the writer’s have been striking for. It looks as though their strike could go on indefinitely, with the assumption that they will eventually cave to the AMPTP. This article in the New York Times makes it seems as if the writer’s guild is about to fracture, especially with the side deals being made with certain studios.

Mr. Ridley, an open critic of the striking writers guilds whose credits include the ?Barbershop? and ?Third Watch? television series, created ripples here last week when he became the first prominent writer to break publicly with the Writers Guild of America West by declaring ?financial core? status. Such standing allows someone to pay union dues and work for employers under its contract without observing its rules as an active member.

Earlier, a handful of soap opera writers ? including the two head writers for ?All My Children? ? took a similar step, even as other writers continued with a strike that began on Nov. 5 when some 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East walked out.

Such actions have been rare, and they mark the extreme edge of discontent within the guild, which has ? like the major companies they oppose ? so far retained a united front as it seeks more compensation for new media, among other issues.

But that’s not all. One of the most prominent guild writer’s turned blogger, Craig Mazin at The Artful Writer, has been weary of the tactics and even insists that all the writeups of the DGA agreement have been nothing but trite summeries. He suggests heading here to read the full agreement, but as always he’ll have a breakdown on his own site. Meanwhile, this is what he has to say about the ongoing strike.

How does this help anything? How does fighting against Jay Leno and his decision to write his own jokes help get us a contract? How does letting it happen hurt us getting a contract?

It doesn?t do anything. Unless the lack of a Jay Leno monologue somehow convinces the DGA to not bargain early and, in fact, link arms with us and fight to the death for the deal terms we?re asking, picking a strange and likely losing battle with Leno makes no sense at all right now.

I think we should just leave the guy alone. He could have been on air since our strike began, but he stayed out. Didn?t have to. Did. And if he owned his own show, there?s no doubt he would have signed the same interim deal Dave signed. He doesn?t, he did the best he could, he?s not asking his writers to go fi-core and come back to the show, he?s just trying to exercise his right to write self-performed material as excluded by the WGA?and our leadership apparently feels the strong need to try and stop him.

Well, good luck with that.

Things are starting to get out of control for the writer’s and in light of the recent DGA deal, probably only worse.

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