WGA Says No Contract Draft Yet

Posted on February 8, 2008

Nikkie Finke reports that as of 3:30 Pacific time, there still is no draft contract for the WGA to show its membership on Saturday. The attorneys for the AMPTP keep adding language to give their clients another advantage.

3:30 PM: Immediately after meeting with the strike captains, Dave Young and other WGA negotiators went back to continue working on a draft of the deal language. Said one WGA strike captain, "We were told that the other side's lawyers just keep chipping away and making changes in order to gain a few crumbs more favorable. This is a dangerous game they're playing. It's Russian roulette."

2:15 PM: I'm told the WGA leadership spent from 10 AM to 2:15 PM today briefing strike captains point by point about the deal. I'm told among the bad news is that the negotiated writer-mogul terms still call for that 17-day window for ad-embedded TV show streaming. But one prominent strike captain describes the good news to me like this: "This is a decent deal if the distributors gross turns out to be a real number. There are some protections in there, and some good points, that I didn't expect them to be able to negotiate. On Saturday, I'll be speaking in favor of the deal. Writers need to let go of some dreams. It's not a resounding and humiliating defeat of the companies. But it also doesn't let the networks and studios treat the Internet like the Wild Wild West."

This is worrying. The moguls, including Fox's Peter Chernin, keep telling anyone who will listen that the deal is done. But if the AMPTP's lawyers keep nitpicking/changing on the contract language, this whole thing could stall out. It's not over until the WGA says it's over.

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