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Old 01-21-2020, 08:32 PM   #21
finalact4
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

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Originally Posted by JoeBanks View Post
But game theory-ing it out, the "Big 4" is really a big two of WME and CAA. If you're UTA and ICM (and don't have lion's share of packaging revenue as it stands anyway) there's at least a cost-benefit analysis to be had of how many WME/CAA clients you could possibly lure away by signing (Endeavor and CAA themselves only exist because two rogue groups of agents from William Morris and ICM risked striking out on their own, which would make it even more rich if ICM raided WME's lit clients)
good points. i believe the signed deals state that they have one year to continue packaging AFTER two of the four sign, so you could be right. hopefully we'll see sooner than later.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:40 PM   #22
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

now Innovative too

https://deadline.com/2020/01/innovat...ga-1202843068/
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:53 PM   #23
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

They have a lit department? Who knew!
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:51 PM   #24
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

I saw a Deadline article that touted "six ICM agents made partners," thinking it was a play to keep big hitters from jumping ship-- but that doesn't appear to be the case.

i'm so cynical.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:14 PM   #25
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

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I saw a Deadline article that touted "six ICM agents made partners," thinking it was a play to keep big hitters from jumping ship-- but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Only one of them was lit (TV) it appeared to me
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:02 PM   #26
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

WGA Includes Ban on NON-Franchised Agents in the new MBA...
https://deadline.com/2020/01/wga-stu...ff-1202845595/

I remember reading about the first pass that the WGA sent to the AMPTP and the summary rejection based on what they claimed would constitute an unlawful boycott of Anti-Trust Law considerations.

What I'm wondering, is two-fold... how likely is the membership like to vote "yes," on this, and if, by the time the contract expires, there are only two to three agencies (B3) that have not signed, could they still claim it's a boycott?

I don't know the law, but a boycott seems it would have to impact the majority of the ATA membership, but if all but a few sign it wouldn't be considered a majority.

This is a strong position for the guild to take and I'm wondering which side truly has the biggest stick.

Can anyone shed some light of offer an opinion on how this might go?
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Old 01-29-2020, 08:32 PM   #27
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
I remember reading about the first pass that the WGA sent to the AMPTP and the summary rejection based on what they claimed would constitute an unlawful boycott of Anti-Trust Law considerations.

What I'm wondering, is two-fold... how likely is the membership like to vote "yes," on this, and if, by the time the contract expires, there are only two to three agencies (B3) that have not signed, could they still claim it's a boycott?

I don't know the law, but a boycott seems it would have to impact the majority of the ATA membership, but if all but a few sign it wouldn't be considered a majority.

This is a strong position for the guild to take and I'm wondering which side truly has the biggest stick.
I'll leave it to those actually in the guild to opine on the strategic aspects, though it seems far down on the list of pattern demands and not the hill that the majority of members want to die on in this round of negotiations. I do see which writers are making the most noise about it on twitter which speaks volumes to me.

Legally . . . it's complicated. Generally, two parties (WGA & AMPTP) can't contractually bind a third party (the agencies) that isn't in privity to their contract. So I don't think the guild can compel the studios, via the MBA, to renounce packaging fees if they choose to keep paying them.

[As an aside, this is still pretty rich given the likelihood that the studios will resist paying even one more penny to the WGA in collective bargaining upon pain of death but apparently are never so frugal as to stop paying the agencies their extortion fees for the privilege of booking an agency's clients for work. Anyway . . . ]

All of the "group boycott" and anticompetitive stuff the AMPTP threw out there in the letter last year would carry a lot more weight (imo) if the WGA and the ATA were actually competitors in the marketplace. Antitrust is for the most part concerned with behavior that results in less competition and higher prices to the consumer. That's not really the relationship between the writers and agents (in theory!). What I think the AMPTP's letter was really doing in a polite legalistic way was saying "don't bring us into your fight, figure it out between yourselves."

Even though the lawsuit between the Big 4 agencies and the WGA is unlikely to be resolved soon -- trial wouldn't take place if it takes place at all until next year -- the court will be ruling shortly on the agencies' motion to dismiss the guild's cross- complaint. This will probably be clarifying for all concerned because it will at least signal whether/how much of a legal fight the case is going to settle. If the judge knocks out the WGA complaint entirely (not typical at this stage), the balance on this issue shifts strongly to both the agencies and the studios -- basically packaging fees would be deemed legitimate under antitrust law so hard to see the guild making it an issue in the MBA negotiations.

If any of the WGA's antitrust claims survive and proceed to discovery etc. before trial, that's potentially more interesting. At that point, the agencies face the real possibility that packaging itself gets tossed entirely or in part as anticompetitive. That's a pretty big roll of the dice to take and (imo) puts the WGA on slightly firmer ground to ask AMPTP to agree to only work with agencies that have signed the new CoC. But even if the AMPTP still thinks there may be potential antitrust exposure on it's part, it seems to me it's ultimately up to the guild to agree to make its members available on whatever lawful terms it wants under the MBA. That is, if the studios say "no" and the guild tells its members via a working rule "okay, we're not on strike but no scripts or jobs for the studios unless they're submitted through an agency that's signed the CoC" what are the studios going to do?

Standing on it's own, I don't know if it's a strong ask at the bargaining table. But if the intention is to leverage the gains the guild has made thus far with the agencies that have signed to essentially lock in the "savings" from not having to pay packaging fees as increased compensation for writers in the studio budgets, then I think it probably worth including as part of the overall pattern of demands
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:44 AM   #28
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

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I'll leave it to those actually in the guild to opine on the strategic aspects, though it seems far down on the list of pattern demands and not the hill that the majority of members want to die on in this round of negotiations. I do see which writers are making the most noise about it on twitter which speaks volumes to me.
If you feel comfortable, can you pm me some of the @s you're following or perhaps a hashtag? I'm trying to stay informed and am interested in the different opinions on the subject.

Quote:
Legally . . . it's complicated. Generally, two parties (WGA & AMPTP) can't contractually bind a third party (the agencies) that isn't in privity to their contract. So I don't think the guild can compel the studios, via the MBA, to renounce packaging fees if they choose to keep paying them.

[As an aside, this is still pretty rich given the likelihood that the studios will resist paying even one more penny to the WGA in collective bargaining upon pain of death but apparently are never so frugal as to stop paying the agencies their extortion fees for the privilege of booking an agency's clients for work. Anyway . . . ]
Exactly. I'm trying to understand the studio's motivation for wanting to continue paying these outrageous fees. It seems to me, that the agencies are not doing right by their clients if they are "shutting" out the competition and primarily, or even solely, packaging with the talent under their own domain.

I mean, what if there's a better fit that takes talent from TWO agencies to deliver the BEST option for the project?

Quote:
All of the "group boycott" and anticompetitive stuff the AMPTP threw out there in the letter last year would carry a lot more weight (imo) if the WGA and the ATA were actually competitors in the marketplace. Antitrust is for the most part concerned with behavior that results in less competition and higher prices to the consumer. That's not really the relationship between the writers and agents (in theory!). What I think the AMPTP's letter was really doing in a polite legalistic way was saying "don't bring us into your fight, figure it out between yourselves."
I wonder what constitutes a "boycott?" If all but two agencies sign the new franchise agreement, how is that a boycott-- they have a choice... sign or don't sign and live with the consequences. I mean, the current MBA says that a WGA writer must only work with franchised studios/production houses, right? That shuts out non-franchised prodco's, doesn't it? Is that the same? Is it the third party thing that changes it? I think I missing something here in my, admitted, ignorance.
Quote:
Even though the lawsuit between the Big 4 agencies and the WGA is unlikely to be resolved soon -- trial wouldn't take place if it takes place at all until next year -- the court will be ruling shortly on the agencies' motion to dismiss the guild's cross- complaint. This will probably be clarifying for all concerned because it will at least signal whether/how much of a legal fight the case is going to settle. If the judge knocks out the WGA complaint entirely (not typical at this stage), the balance on this issue shifts strongly to both the agencies and the studios -- basically packaging fees would be deemed legitimate under antitrust law so hard to see the guild making it an issue in the MBA negotiations.

If any of the WGA's antitrust claims survive and proceed to discovery etc. before trial, that's potentially more interesting. At that point, the agencies face the real possibility that packaging itself gets tossed entirely or in part as anticompetitive. That's a pretty big roll of the dice to take and (imo) puts the WGA on slightly firmer ground to ask AMPTP to agree to only work with agencies that have signed the new CoC. But even if the AMPTP still thinks there may be potential antitrust exposure on it's part, it seems to me it's ultimately up to the guild to agree to make its members available on whatever lawful terms it wants under the MBA. That is, if the studios say "no" and the guild tells its members via a working rule "okay, we're not on strike but no scripts or jobs for the studios unless they're submitted through an agency that's signed the CoC" what are the studios going to do?
Agreed, that's a very interesting question.
Quote:
Standing on it's own, I don't know if it's a strong ask at the bargaining table. But if the intention is to leverage the gains the guild has made thus far with the agencies that have signed to essentially lock in the "savings" from not having to pay packaging fees as increased compensation for writers in the studio budgets, then I think it probably worth including as part of the overall pattern of demands
Thanks for helping me better understand the landscape.
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:59 AM   #29
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

If you feel comfortable, can you pm me some of the @s you're following or perhaps a hashtag? I'm trying to stay informed and am interested in the different opinions on the subject.


On Twitter I usually start at Bitter Script Reader's feed, he usually retweets anything relevant as it's happening. If you recall which sides were which during the most recent WGA elections, you can probably imagine who is already complaining about the deal point.

There was also a good post on the reddit screenwriting with a longer discussion from several WGA members that lays out what they see as really at stake in the negotiations, which is basically increasing compensation especially streaming residuals:

http://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwritin...f_youre_going/

Exactly. I'm trying to understand the studio's motivation for wanting to continue paying these outrageous fees. It seems to me, that the agencies are not doing right by their clients if they are "shutting" out the competition and primarily, or even solely, packaging with the talent under their own domain.

I mean, what if there's a better fit that takes talent from TWO agencies to deliver the BEST option for the project?


Agreed! The WGA would be on stronger ground if they had brought this case 20 years ago (there is an equitable doctrine called laches that says if you sit on your rights too long, don't count on the courts to enforce them later) but the judge at the most recent hearing on the agencies' motion to dismiss appeared to concede that if a practice is facially illegal it may not ultimately matter why the guild waited until now. I personally think packaging has problems from an antitrust perspective -- the DOJ forced Lew Wasserman out of the agency business entirely because of it -- and the California case from 1976 seemed to imply as much but the court never reached the actual question so it wasn't decided. My hope is the judge here understands the importance of giving it a definitive resolution, one way or the other.

I wonder what constitutes a "boycott?" If all but two agencies sign the new franchise agreement, how is that a boycott-- they have a choice... sign or don't sign and live with the consequences. I mean, the current MBA says that a WGA writer must only work with franchised studios/production houses, right? That shuts out non-franchised prodco's, doesn't it? Is that the same? Is it the third party thing that changes it? I think I missing something here in my, admitted, ignorance.

The group boycott that normally gets you in trouble is more along the lines of Company A enters into a contract with Company B but only on the condition that B agrees not to enter into like contracts with any of A's competitors except at the same or higher costs. There's not a bright line as to what type of boycott passes muster under antitrust laws but the focus as I understand it is on competitors within a given market and the effect on consumer prices, which is not the relationship that WGA and ATA have in relation to AMPTP (at least putatively; the agencies themselves might see it differently)

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/comp...group-boycotts
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:50 AM   #30
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Default Re: Abrams Artists Signs WGA CoC

Paradigm what are you doing?

https://deadline.com/2020/01/paradig...tv-1202847617/
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