World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has heavily banked on the WWE Network ever since its release in February 2014. However, both fans and wrestlers have been vocal against the concept and have shared concerns over how the present and past talents of the company would be paid because of it. A few unnamed former wrestlers have joined forces to file a class action lawsuit against the company over royalties and its network.
Before the release of the Network, the sale of DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s were a major part of merchandising for the company. Any wrestler, past or present who featured in the content of the DVD and Blu-Ray releases received compensation from the company because of royalties, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
However, with the WWE Network arriving in the picture over the last two years, the company has archived most of its documentary footages along with PPV and television matches. This has resulted in the reduced sales of its DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s, which in turn has affected the wrestlers.
WWE however, profits from showcasing the footages on its network by charging a monthly subscription fee from its viewers. This is where the concerned wrestlers feel cheated and believes that the compensation they are receiving from the company is unfair.
There is also another concern amongst the wrestlers which might be highlighted in the lawsuit. Previously most of the superstars who featured in a pay-per-view of the company received a part of the revenue based on their position on the wrestling card. However, with the WWE Network, the pay-per-view structure has been completely eradicated which results in lower individual payoffs for the wrestlers.
In the past, family of Eddie Gilbert and Doug Somers unsuccessfully filed litigation against the WWE for showing clips of their matches on television. However, with the WWE Network having a paid subscription structure, the current lawsuit would be a different scenario altogether.
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