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Barbs Fly, But No Settlement in Writers Strike

14 Nov, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Picketing writers.

Despite a lack of new talks between writers and television producers on strike issues related to residuals for DVD and new media, both sides this week continued to hurl accusations at each other.

Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), accused the Writers Guild of America (WGA) of blacklisting writers alleged to be engaging in strike-breaking activities or scab writing.

The chairman of the WGA's newly formed strike compliance committee had reportedly warned members they should inform the guild about writers allegedly crossing picket lines.

The AMPTP reiterated that writers get paid residuals from new media every time a consumer pays to view TV programming, a feature film for a limited period or downloads a permanent copy (electronic sellthrough).

The WGA contends residual rates, when applied to new media and not discounted as promotion, are based on antiquated DVD rates.

“The WGA is using fear and intimidation to control its membership,” Counter said. “Asking members to inform on each other and creating a blacklist of those who question the tactics of the WGA leadership is as unacceptable today as it was when the WGA opposed these tactics in the 1950s.”

The WGA West denied Counter's charge and called it “offensive as it is untrue.” The group characterized Counter's comment as an attempt to divert attention from his alleged refusal to return to the negotiations table.

“The WGA has an offer on the table and is ready and willing to meet with the AMPTP any day, anywhere,” said the guild in a statement.

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