Writers Strike Focused On Re-Arrangement Of Digital Media – Hits Letterman, Leno And Others

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – David Letterman, Jay Leno and The Daily Show are some of the popular shows already hit by the Hollywood writers strike, following protest action taken by their writers over a royalty payment dispute.

The strike illustrates the growing importance of new digital media, such as online distribution of popular television programming and movies, a change in digital media that has already hit the music industry hard.

TV and movie writers went on strike yesterday morning after negotiations failed to produce an agreement with producers over how much writers should be paid when their work is bought over the internet or sold on DVD.

The popular, late night shows ran re-runs as talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down.

The strike is the first since 1988, was announced Friday night after the writers’ old contract expired Wednesday. It immediately sent many late-night comedy and talk shows – such as “The Daily Show,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brian” ¬- into reruns.

A statement from Nick Counter, the president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, called the strike “irresponsible” and said that the writers guild was “unwilling to compromise on most of their demands.” He said they were prepared for a long strike.

“We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas including internet streaming and jurisdiction in New Media,” Counter stated.

Writers want higher fees or ‘residuals’, from work released on DVD or online. They formed a picket line at Rockefeller Center at 9 a.m. Monday morning, while on the West Coast, members of the Writers Guild of America West marched outside a dozen Hollywood studios.

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