(From Laeta Kalogridis)
JUST A POINT OF CLARITY –
About why the negotiations broke down today. There seems to be some confusion that we are “revisiting” the DVD residual issue, and that somehow writers are mired in the past.
WHAT HAPPENED TODAY WAS NOT ABOUT DVD RESIDUALS.
IT WAS ABOUT RESIDUALS FOR THE INTERNET.
Below I’ve quoted a section from the AMPTP’s own press release:
"But, as I said, no further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table. In referring to DVDs, we include not only traditional DVDs, but also electronic sell-through -- i.e., permanent downloads. As you know, we believe that electronic sell-through is synonymous with DVD."
Ok: DVD’s are DVD’s. They come in packages, you buy them and take them home.
Internet downloads are internet downloads. They are not a physical object, any more than a DVD is, say, a television set, or, for that matter, a dog. Nick Counter can decree they are the same thing all he wants. That will never make it true.
They used the language, in my opinion, to try and confuse people into thinking that the WGA was being stubborn about DVD’s, a ship which many people feel has sailed. THIS WAS NOT ABOUT DVD’S.
So, the translation of Nick Counter’s position: they refuse to negotiate with us unless we agree that internet downloads are the same as DVD’s, and get the same practically-nonexistent residual formula.
In other words: They refuse to negotiate with us.
There’s no discussion of what the formula might be for internet, what the numbers might be, how payment might be structured. Just a decree that DVD = internet downloads, and there will be no further discussion.
In my opinion, which again is not official in any way, internet is the one overriding issue of this negotiation. And for them to declare – again – that it’s not a subject they’re willing to negotiate on – well, that part I guess I don’t need to translate.
And thanks to Craig for articulating it so much better than I ever could have.