Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Writers Guild of America Strike

I support the writers. Most of this argument is about residuals for electronic media. The writers got shaken down the last time for videocassette payments because the producers didn't know what the future would hold. Well, they sure as heck know that electronic media are the future of television. What's that, you say? It doesn't cost anything to download episodes of Bionic Woman or Lost? Well, that's true, it doesn't cost you anything. But the producers and networks do sell advertising for them, and unlike TiVO, you can't skip the commercials.

Here's an op-ed by Lost producer/writer Damon Lindelof that claims that episodes of Lost have been downloaded "hundreds of millions of times." The producers claim that there's no money in the internet? Let's lowball the estimate and say that there have been exactly 100,000,000 downloads. If the writers were paid a tenth of a cent per download, they would be receiving $100,000 instead of the $0 they get now. Think the producers made nothing on the downloads? Think again.

The last WGA strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks. This one, unless the producers put electronic media residuals back on the table, will go longer.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Jim, I too support the writers in the strike. While it does upset me a bit that I won't get new shows until the strike ends, that's okay. They should get a piece of the profits. The studio execs make more than enough money.

I guess the strike will give me time to focus on other things (reading, my own writing, etc.).