Noncom Scribes Co-Write New Contracts

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TV writers for such noncom staples as Nova, Front Line, and American Masters, have come to terms with three key noncommercial stationson new, three-year contracts--retroactive to Nov. 13, 2005--that compensate those writers for the burgeoning new media aftermarket for their work.

According to the Writers Guild of America, East and West, WNET New York, KCET Los Angeles and WGBH Boston, three of the chief producing partners in the PBS system, have agreed to pay hikes effective June 1; November 13, 2006; and November 13, 2007.

New to the contracts are payments for Internet downloads, satellite radio broadcasts, and the sale of excerpts to schools.

The deal is still subject to approval by the guild's governing bodies and memberships, but that both are widely expected to give it the thumbs up.

The stations and guilds have also agreed to hold annual meetings to talk about changes in technology and effect on distributing and tracking public TV programming.

A priority for communications unions is bringing contracts in line with the proliferating delivery systems for their members' creative output.

Elsewhere, SAG and AFTRA are preparing to renegotiate commercial actor collective bargaining agreements with the ad industry and also want to make sure those properly factor in the Internet, cell phones, and more.

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