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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008, 11:38 GMT
'Breakthrough' in writers' strike
Striking writers
Writers want better payment for TV shows and films sold online
A breakthrough has reportedly been reached during informal talks between striking Hollywood writers and production companies.

The two sides bridged the gap over the key issue of payment for projects distributed on the internet, the Associated Press news agency said.

A deal would end the three-month writers' strike that has crippled the US entertainment industry.

It could also resolve a deadlock over this month's Academy Awards ceremony.

Oscars organisers and producers have pledged to stage a show on 24 February, but only a deal with the Writers Guild of America would allow the ceremony to proceed as usual.

The strike, which began nearly three months ago, has hit film and TV production across the US and caused the cancellation of last month's Golden Globes awards ceremony.

But the guild has agreed to let writers work on the Grammys, to be held on 10 February, as a gesture of solidarity with musicians also facing challenges getting "compensation for the use of their work in new media".

Directors deal

Friday's breakthrough could allow the two sides to bypass formal negotiations, Variety and the New York Times reported.

Both sides will now have to agree the language of provisions before putting the deal to Writers Guild of America leaders, the New York Times said.

Any deal would then have to be approved by a majority of the guild's active members, which number more than 10,000.

The informal talks began in the wake of a tentative contract agreement between studios and the Directors Guild of America, which dealt with many of the same issues that have troubled writers.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation says the strike has cost the region's film and TV industry at least $650 million (330 million) in lost wages, with the wider economy losing over $1 billion (508 million).

Neither the Writers Guild of America nor the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers have commented on the reports.

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