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Strike Watch: Closer to–or Farther from–a Deal

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On the fourth day of writers’-strike talks, the studios came back with an offer for payments on electronic distribution of writers’ work. This much is clear. Whether the deal amounts to more or less for writers, and whether it brings the strike closer to or farther from resolution, is iffier.

The WGA, the New York Times reports, has rejected the offer, saying it amounts to a rollback, in comparison with what writers now get for TV reruns. The studios (who in general argue that Internet is not on a financial par with TV reruns) say it would give the writers $130 million a year more. According to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily, the writers’ side is taking until Tuesday to study the new proposals and determine a counteroffer–which sounds more optimistic, if only a shade.

Variety lays out some of the issues in contention now: The percentage paid for Internet downloads (which remains at the DVD rate, which the writers have never liked, in the new proposal), money for exclusive-to-Internet material, and the “window,” or amount of time after original broadcast when residuals would start to be paid for Internet streaming (six weeks, in the studios’ proposal, before which netcasts are to be considered “promotional”).

All reports agree that talks are off until Tuesday. On the fifth day, they rested.