AMPTP Drops Recoupment Proposal

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said Tuesday that it is taking its cost-recoupment proposal off the table.

The proposal was for writers to only receive residual payments after certain costs were recouped on a project. The writers had argued that studios could shape accounting practices to limit residuals under that plan.

“In the overriding interest of keeping the industry working and removing what has become an emotional impediment and excuse by the WGA not to bargain, the AMPTP withdrew its recoupment proposal,” AMPTP president Nick Counter said in a statement.

“By taking the recoupment formula off the table, we haven’t solved the problems that the formula was designed to ameliorate,” he added. “But, as we have said repeatedly, we are committed to making a deal that is fair and reasonable.

The Writers Guild of America then issued the following statement: “Today, the AMPTP took one of its many rollbacks off the table. We welcome that and hope it means the companies are ready to begin serious negotiations. The remaining rollbacks would gut our contract and will never be acceptable to writers.”

The WGA continued, “Moving forward, we have extremely important issues to deal with, including new media, home video, jurisdiction and enforcement. By maintaining our resolve, we will come out of these negotiations with a good contract that not only benefits writers, but the entire entertainment industry and the communities that depend on it.”

But the AMPTP said it was sticking by its guns on other issues.

“Upon removing the recoupment issue, we made it patently clear that the producers will not agree to increase residual payments for video-cassette/DVD use (including electronic sell-through), for reruns on The CW or My Network TV, or for programs made for pay television or basic cable,” Counter said. “We now expect the WGA leadership to get down to the business at hand and do what it takes to reach a new labor agreement.”