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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Unions call for video iPod talks
Apple iPod

Unions representing Hollywood actors, writers and directors have called for talks over the use of TV shows on Apple's new video iPod.

The unions want to ensure their members get a cut of the revenue generated by the sale of TV shows on Apple software.

ABC is the first network to do a deal with Apple to allow US viewers to download episodes of shows like Lost.

"We look forward to a dialogue that ensures that our members are properly compensated," said the union statement.

DVD sales

It added: "As the representatives for the creative community, we embrace new technologies that expand distribution of material featuring the work of our members.

"The Apple Video iPod represents the latest chapter in the ongoing technological evolution of our industry."

The Writers Guild of America (West), the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America (East) issued the joint statement.

It was an unusual move as the unions often disagree over other issues, such as royalties from DVD sales.

The unions have not yet called on ABC, or its parent company Walt Disney, to discuss how much of the $1.99 (1.13) Apple is charging for a single episode should go to writers, actors and directors.

In a statement, ABC said: "The guilds are our business partners, and we always welcome a dialogue with them on any business-related issue that affects their members."

Lower payments

The unions already have agreements that cover the re-use of their work on the internet or in "pay-per-view" models, such as video on demand.

Under the Writers Guild of America agreement, writers are entitled to 1.6% of the licence fee paid by networks to the producers of a show, while actors are entitled to 3.6%.

A conflict could arise if studios decide to treat the internet downloads the same as they do a DVD sale, which might result in lower payments.

Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America (West), said: "I'm thrilled by the notion I can watch my shows in the palm of my hand, but I also want to make sure we are paid appropriately."

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