Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

DGA Settles With Hollywood Studios in a New York Minute


Well, that was quick.

Unlike the writers, who have been striking for a dog’s age now (11 weeks), the Directors Guild of America reached a three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after just five days of talks.

Internet issues were front and center, as with the writers.

“This was a very difficult negotiation that required real give and take on both sides,” said DGA president Michael Apted in a statement. “Nonetheless, we managed to produce an agreement that enshrines the two fundamental principles we regard as absolutely crucial to any employment and compensation agreement in this digital age: First, jurisdiction is essential. Without secure jurisdiction over new-media production–both derivative and original–compensation formulas are meaningless. Second, the Internet is not free. We must receive fair compensation for the use and reuse of our work on the Internet, whether it was originally created for other media platforms or expressly for online distribution.”

In practical terms, that means that directors get jurisdiction over: derivative product from other covered media; original content above $15,000/minute or $300,000/program or $500,000/series; and original content under that threshold when a DGA member is involved.

Here’s the DGA release with all the particulars of the settlement.

What this means for the writers’ continued strike is unclear, but the DGA agreement could be used to jump-start the negotiations between the writers and Hollywood studios anew.

One thing is certain: The pressure is now on the screenwriters.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work