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Writers Guild of America Triumphs in $42 Million Arbitration With Netflix

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EJ Panaligan editorThe Writers Guild of America informed its members on Thursday that it has prevailed in a crucial arbitration with Netflix over their underpayment of writers’ residuals for the 2018 film “Bird Box,” notching another $42 million in unpaid residuals for 216 writers on 139 other Netflix films.Netflix’s initial argument regarding “Bird Box” was that the WGA should have accepted a substandard formula they had negotiated with DGA and SAG-AFTRA, but the arbitrator decided after a hearing that the license fee should be greater than the gross budget of the film.

The arbitrator then ordered Netflix to pay the film’s writer $850,000 in residuals, along with the full interest of $350,000.WGA’s victory in the “Bird Box” case directly led to writers for other films on the streaming service’s receiving the additional $42 million in unpaid residuals.

The Guild is now actively pursuing an additional $13.5 million in interest that Netflix owes their writers for late payment on the initial residuals.

The streaming service began producing and releasing theatrical films written by Guild members in 2016, but the Guild’s initial compensation under their collective bargaining agreement only covers those films’ theatrical runs.

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