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ACTRA dispute settled, Hollwood happy, internet residuals still TBD

Canadian actors and producers have come up with what should be a binding agreement that will end the six-week-long strike. This time, Hollywood's on board, but the issue of whether or not actors and voice talent will be paid internet residuals remains up for debate.
February 22, 2007

Canadian actors and producers have come up with what should be a binding agreement that will end the six-week-long strike. And this time, Hollywood’s on board.

The deal, which is subject to ratification, covers 21,000 ACTRA members who have been off the job since January 8. The three-year agreement includes a 9% wage hike and a 1% raise in retirement benefits.

However, it was the proposed formula for dealing with internet rights that turned Hollywood brass sitting on the board of the CFTPA (the trade association of Canadian producers) against the initial deal. These execs bristled because they felt the digital rights terms/fees laid out would set an onerous precedent and cause problems when it came time to sit down and negotiate with their own region’s talent. (The Writers Guild of America is waiting on deck to tackle the same issue.)

The agreed-upon solution is a two-option clause in which producers can choose between Option A, which involves paying actors a full daily rate plus 3.6% of gross distribution revenues after six months of initial use; or Option B, which calls for negotiating the terms on a project-by-project basis. This option, although not named as such, is specifically designed to give US studios an out on setting precedents in the digital residuals debate.

For its part, ACTRA secured a ‘re-opener’ clause that allows the sticky digital media terms to be revisited before the agreement runs out on January 1, 2009 or after the Screen Actors Guild negotiates a new deal with US producers.

The CFTPA board is recommending its members accept the deal, and a vote is expected in the next week. ACTRA leadership is urging the same, but could take up to six weeks to poll its constituency.

-With Files from Playbackmag.com

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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