The tentative pact between the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the studios and networks includes Internet provisions that seem similar to the deals worked out with the writers and directors. It also appears to retain actors' consent over the online use of clips, which was among the most contentious issues (as it has been with the Screen Actors Guild). The media companies wanted actors to drop the consent requirement for online clips. This morning's Variety post notes that for programs produced after July 1, companies can "bargain for consent for the right to use clips at the time of original employment."
"This is another groundbreaking agreement for AFTRA," said AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon in a statement. "In addition to achieving meaningful gains in compensation and working conditions for performers, it also establishes AFTRA jurisdiction in the dynamic area of new media and it preserves performers' consent for use of excerpts of traditional TV shows in new media. "This is a challenging time in the entertainment industry and this was a tough negotiation," she said. "Our ability to achieve these crucial breakthroughs for performers was a direct result of AFTRA membersí pragmatic approach to collective bargaining. We recognized the hard realities currently affecting the traditional TV business and we focused on creating a framework that would allow union members to participate fully in the emerging new media marketplace."
SAG is set to resume its negotiations this morning after a three-week break for the AFTRA talks. With the contract due to expire June 30, you can expect lots of pressure on the actors guild to cut a deal. Here's more from the just-posted LAT story.
The parties have tentatively agreed to jointly devise a system whereby the studios would not have to obtain permission for each clip, but a broader form of consent, such as approval for clips from an entire TV series. Whether such a compromise will satisfy SAG leaders is unclear. SAG members were outraged over a studio proposal that would allow the studios to use clips on the Web without actors' consent. Actors have had control over their clips since 1960, but the studios argue that the rule is cumbersome and impedes their ability to build online business.