SAG awaits as deal is expected later this week

AFTRA and the majors have kept their primetime contract negotiations under the radar while the Screen Actors Guild still waits in the wings.

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists is expected to reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers as early as the end of this week. The sixth day of talks is set for today.

In the meantime, SAG still hasn’t taken the AMPTP up on its invite to resume its negotiations on May 28. The town remains on yellow alert over a possible SAG strike, which could take place once the guild’s feature-primetime contract expires on June 30.

Talks between the AMPTP and SAG recessed last week over the guild’s objections, with the majors saying that gaps still existed on DVD residuals and new-media compensation.

Since then, SAG’s leaders have been stressing the importance of members getting paid for video clips on the Internet — an indication that the issue may be front and center when SAG and the AMPTP resume talks. Members have expressed strong support for that position, according to the discussion at SAG’s Hollywood board meeting Monday.

SAG’s insisting that actors must give consent for their film and TV work to be displayed online, while the congloms want to distribute such clips without seeking permission and pay a flat fee. The issue of consent on clips was not addressed in the DGA and WGA contracts, with the guild asserting that the issue is unique to actors. Studios and broadcast networks can use clips for promotional purposes but are required to negotiate with the performers when the clips are used for entertainment. They’re seeking to develop a market for clips to compete with pirated footage on the Web but assert that it’s too cumbersome to seek individual approval.

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