“It does seem, to me, that management is taking the spirit of their ‘New Partnership’ talk seriously”

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WGA negotiating committee member Robert King has detailed the current state of negotiations at Craig Mazin’s Artful Writer.

King, who’s also a member of the WGA West board, indicates that the tone of the talks have been improving, but cautions there’s no indication of a deal any time soon.

“My personal observation is that negotiations have moved toward a better place,” he wrote. “This might be just a brief respite before Negotiations Armageddon, but for the moment there is dialogue; and dialogue is essential for these difficult new media issues.”

King also notes that it’s been helpful at recent sessions to operate with smaller groups and in sidebars: “In other words, sometimes there is the illusion of being farther apart than we actually are; and smaller sidebar dialogue helps us discover if that’s indeed the case.”

King IDs four key areas of new media under discussion: Electronic sellthrough or internet download (on which the guild and the AMPTP haven’t budged, respectively). ad-supported streaming (on which there’s been some movement, by both sides), subscription-supported streaming and jurisdiction over made-for-the-Internet original content.

King says the last issue is a big concern. “The bigger worry is if management is insistent on not granting Guild jurisdiction for original Internet content,” he said. “That could get messy. The Guild can’t really be complicit in its own suicide and that’s pretty much what giving up Internet jurisdiction would amount to: A gradual suicide.”

Interesting stuff. Read King’s entire post here.

— Dave McNary

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