Morning Media Newsfeed: AJA Countersues Gore | Time Inc. Guild Talks Break Down

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Al Jazeera America Countersuing Al Gore (TVNewser)
It looks like Al Jazeera America isn’t taking the lawsuit levied by former Vice President Al Gore lying down. The company countersued Gore and Joel Hyatt Friday. The Associated Press The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million. THR / Hollywood, Esq. According to Gore and Hyatt, Al Jazeera squandered those favorable distribution rights by making an “ill-advised, one-sided” agreement with Time Warner Cable, which set off “most favored nation” obligations to other distributors. According to Al Jazeera, it’s Gore and Hyatt who shoulder the blame — and responsibility — for what later happened by failing to get TWC on board in the first place. New York Post Friday’s countersuit insists that AJA, as Current TV’s buyer, did not “make phony claims” but had a “contractual right to be indemnified.” “Al Jazeera America rightfully seeks compensation from an escrow fund that was established solely and specifically to protect Al Jazeera against any harm resulting from these inaccurate representations,” the countersuit claimed. In the countersuit, Al Jazeera stated it made five claims on the escrow money, relating mostly to disagreements it had with distributors following the sale. Variety The purchase price was reportedly $500 million, and, although that figure also was redacted from Al Jazeera’s filing, the company noted that Gore is “reported to have made between $70 and $100 million from the sale.” Gore and Hyatt contend that they initially harbored “serious reservations” about selling the network to Al Jazeera, but decided to entertain the idea of such a sale after performing due diligence and consulting with former senior U.S. government officials.

Time Inc. Labor Negotiations Break Down (FishbowlNY)
The Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents about 200 Time Inc. staffers, has announced that labor negotiations with the publishing giant have broken down. New York Post The biggest stumbling block appears to be Time Inc.’s desire to have the right to export some of the journalism jobs offshore. The union covers employees, mostly on the print side of the company’s core titles — Time, People, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated. Time Inc.’s latest offer would allow as many as 160 of those jobs to be sent overseas, according to the union. Capital New York At a bargaining session held Wednesday, the union had been pushing for a limit on subcontracting at 25 percent of its members. The union’s last contract with Time Inc. expired in early 2013, but the parties agreed to extend it to Aug. 27, 2014. Regular bargaining sessions began this January, once the details of Time Inc.’s spin-off from parent company Time Warner had been finalized. WWD / Memo Pad The Guild, which represents more than 2,800 journalists and other employees in the New York area, said that it would likely file unfair labor practices charges with the New York Labor Relation’s Board against Time Inc. this week.

British Media Breathes Sigh of Relief as Scots Reject Independence (HuffPost)
The overwhelming majority of the British media celebrated on Friday morning when the Scottish people voted to remain part of the U.K. The sense of relief was palpable across the nation’s front pages. THR Sky News called the results of the referendum just after 6 a.m. GMT, with the BBC then also predicting that the “no” voters were on course to succeed. All networks reported the final result at 8:15 a.m. local time. It showed that 55 percent of Scottish people at the polls, or just more than 2 million, had voted in favor of remaining part of the U.K. Variety For media types, particularly the BBC, the “no” vote was mostly welcome news. Throughout the two-year independence battle the U.K. pubcaster had remained conspicuously silent on the impact an independent Scotland was likely to have on its own fortunes. The BBC noted primly that any comment on how a “yes” vote would affect itself risked compromising its role as an impartial news organization reporting on the referendum. It was therefore unable to challenge the Scottish Nationalists’ claim that a newly independent Scotland would have a new Scottish pubcaster and still be able to keep BBC programs without having to pay more than the current BBC license fee.