After nearly three weeksof negotiations, representatives of Hollywood studios and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists talked into the night Monday, apparently moving closer to a deal on a new prime-time TV contract, the Los Angeles Times reports.


The contract could be modeled on the agreement that in February ended a 100-day walkout by film and television writers, said two people close to the talks who declined to be identified.


Among other things, these people said, the pact under discussion would increase the residual payments actors receive for movies and TV shows sold online and establish a pay structure for programs streamed for free over the Web, a major concern for talent unions as the Internet transforms the way entertainment is delivered.


AFTRA wasn't expected to achieve an increase in DVD residuals, a major issue for the larger, more powerful Screen Actors Guild.


The negotiations could end in a tentative deal as early as today, though people close to the talks cautioned that significant issues had to be resolved, including the volatile matter of how clips of films and TV shows are used online.


Representatives of AFTRA and the studios said they couldn't comment.


Actors have had the right of consent over the use of excerpts from their films and shows since 1960, but during recent negotiations with SAG, the studios argued that continuing that right would tie their hands as they experiment with the new medium.


The clips issue has galvanized moderates and hard-liners alike within SAG, in much the same way that Writers Guild of America members became enraged last year when studios demanded an overhaul of the long-standing system of residuals.

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