US talent guilds want a fair cut of i-Tunes download revenues

November 2005

Internet, Mobiles, Television

The presidents of unions representing Hollywood writers and actors have joined together to ensure that their members get a fair shares of revenues coming from the new download revenue stream. This follows the announcement that ABC shows such as “Lost” could be downloaded for portable viewing on Apple’s video i-Pod. ABC became the first network to allow viewers to download episodes of their shows the day after they air. Other networks are expected to follow. The development was news to the presidents of the Writers Guild of America, West, and the president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The two called their counterparts at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, East. The Unions have not yet contacted ABC (owned by the Walt Disney Corporation) to discuss how much of the $1.99 fee per episode should go to writers, actors and directors. The unions already have agreements that cover the reuse of their work on the Internet and in “pay per view” models. They also have newer deals covering work produced for the Internet.

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