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Streaming giant Netflix has lost a lawsuit against the Writers Guild of America and must pay the outstanding balance of $42 million.

A recent arbitration with the WGA over Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, resulted in the organization receiving $42 million in unpaid writer’s residuals.

“Netflix believes that the WGA should accept the substandard formula that the company negotiated with the DGA and SAG-AFTRA,” President Meredith Stiehm wrote in a WGA memo. “After the hearing, however, the arbitrators came to a different decision: the licensing fee should be higher than the overall budget of the film.”

The arbitrator forced Netflix to pay Bird Box writer Eric Heisserer the remaining $850,000 plus $350,000 in interest — a total of $1.2 million.

The ruling affects not only Bird Box, but many other titles as well. Essentially, the arbitrators ruled that authors of original Netflix titles should receive the same level of licensing fees that streaming services pay for third-party titles. That means the ruling applies to a total of 139 Netflix original feature films.

For example, the WGA mentioned a red notice, whose authors would receive $2.78 million as a result of the arbitration, instead of the $850,000 originally proposed.

The 216 writers on these films will receive a total of $42 million in unpaid balances. The WGA is also asking for an additional $13 million in interest, meaning affected writers could receive a total of $64 million in remaining payments after the WGA takes action.

Netflix began producing films written by WGA members in 2016, but the guild’s original compensation only covers the theatrical release of the film. When the films are licensed or released in other markets, the remainder of these revenues are paid. However, Netflix negotiated new deals with SAG-AFTRA and the DGA that would allow them to pay significantly lower residuals and tried to force the WGA to accept the same deal.

Netflix Spotlight: August 2022

The arbitration against Birdbox was the result of the WGA’s objection to the deal. Now, the guild has secured a whopping $20 million more for its members than the DGA and SAG-AFTRA agreements have received.

“The upcoming 2023 MBA negotiations challenge us to address the industry’s eagerness to capitalize on the growth of the streaming model to drive down pay and working conditions for Hollywood talent,” the WGA said. get a fair share of the value.”

Netflix, which recently lost more than 1 million subscribers, has since taken cost-cutting measures such as slashing its animation projects and laying off staff on its editorial site TUDUM.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment reporter and film critic for can follow him Twitter.

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