Message to Members

Dear Fellow Members,

We are writing to confirm what you have undoubtedly already heard: Last week, the Walt Disney Company informed our Guilds (along with SAG and the DGA) that they intend to pay residuals for Apple iPod downloads at an inappropriate, discounted rate.


to say, this unilateral decision by Disney was met with disappointment

and righteous indignation by virtually the entire talent community. All

the Guilds, jointly and individually, issued public statements

asserting their anger and warning of the likely consequences.


put a fine point on what this means, Disney is claiming that Apple is

not the distributor of our content, but merely a "retailer" or

"exhibitor." Disney claims that they are the distributor and, as a

result, they assert that they can use a lower formula created for Beta

and VHS tapes. Disney and the other companies have refused for years to

adjust this outdated formula for the DVD market and now they are trying

to do the same thing with the next generation of technology. On each

$1.99 download, Disney will receive $1.40 but pay us on only 20% of

that amount, or 28 cents. Accordingly, our residual will be less than

half a cent per download. On Monday we received the first check for an

episode of LOST, which was downloaded nearly half a million times. The

amount of the check was $3,688.59. Had Disney paid under the correct

formula, the check would have been over $14,000.

We take this

action by Disney as a call to arms. Disney purports to be a leader in

technological media advances. We support those advances but not without

fair compensation for the hardworking men and women who write, perform,

direct, and otherwise create the very content that makes their new

revenue streams possible. Rest assured, our Guilds will take all

affirmative legal action within our power to see that this inequity is

resolved to our benefit.

Disney's competitors have yet to

announce how they will treat the creative community in this new market

and we encourage them to take a different course.

Ultimately we

must all reaffirm our resolve to stand together. Our greatest strength

is our unity and our common interests. The six conglomerates are

constantly on the lookout for ways to divide us and weaken our

collective impact. Their chief weapon is the use of new media and new

markets to reduce our hard fought contractual gains. They would love to

eliminate us altogether by doing future work non-Guild. Whether you

write for the big screen, the small screen or the teeny-tiny portable

screen, we must stick together.

We are not only concerned about

reuse, we also need your help to reign in original content created for

the Internet and other new technologies. Please let us know whenever

you are offered work that is not covered by a Guild contract. This is

especially vital for work you may be offered (by Disney and others) on

so-called mobisodes, webisodes, netisodes, mobisoaps, microseries, and

the like. You will not be punished for reporting this work to us. We

fully intend to make these programs Guild-covered and we encourage you

to bring them to our attention so that we can develop appropriate and

consistent rates and conditions. You can respond directly to this

e-mail or call the Guild Organizing Department at 212-767-7808.

These new technologies represent our future. Remember, we are all in this together.


Chris Albers

President, WGA East

Patric M. Verrone

President, WGA west