Tentative Deal Reached Between WGA and AMPTP?

Posted on February 1, 2008

The New York Times is reporting that a tentative deal has been struck between the WGA and the AMPTP.
Informal talks between representatives of Hollywood's writers and production companies eliminated the major roadblocks to a new contract, opening the prospect of a tentative agreement between the parties as early as next week, according to people who were briefed on the situation but requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak.

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The agreement may come without renewed formal negotiations between the parties, though both sides still need to agree on specific language of key provisions. If that process goes smoothly, an agreement may be presented to the governing boards of the striking Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East by the end of next week, the people said.

The breakthrough occurred Friday after two weeks of closed-door discussions between the sides. Even if approved by leaders of the guilds, a deal would require ratification by a majority of the more than 10,000 active guild members.

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A final sticking point had been compensation for television programs that are streamed over the Internet after their initial broadcast. Companies were seeking a period during which they could stream such shows without paying a residual, and wanted to peg payments for a year of streaming at the $1,200 level established in the directors' contract. Writers were seeking 1.2 percent of the distributors' revenue from such streams as a residual. How that issue was finally resolved in the informal talks remained unclear as of Saturday afternoon.
The news blackout is still in effect so nothing is official, but but this sounds really promising.

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