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  • Script Writers' Strike

    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this yet, but it's a good thing that we have something better to do than watch television.

    It seems to me that their issue is closely related to those in the music industry. They want more money because their work is being used for more things. Isn't that like song writers, composers, and artists wanting more money because not only are they selling physical records, but there are many "soft" methods of distribution.

    I can see the argument that more people are enjoying their work, so they should get paid proportional to every listener. But are the writers or composers really doing any more work to get wider distribution or additional mileage out of their work? Is the same work any more valuable because it can be distributed in a different form than originally intended?

    If sales (hard, accountable cash) volume is greater, then I believe that the creator is intitled to a share. But these folks seem to want to be paid more money up front based on other potential use. Is that fair?

    I'm actually starting to think about this myself. I'm not a songwriter, but I write articles for magazines now and then, and more magazines are starting to take advantage of the Internet to extend both their readership and content. Pro Audio Review's entire issues are now available on like for those with the patience to read them that way, yet I don't get paid any more for my articles than when they were a print-only publication. That doesn't bother me because I submit the same thing I always did. The publisher has additional expernses in putting the magazine on line, so if there's any money to be made from that, I feel that since it's his risk, he's entitled to the profits.

    But other magazines are using the Internet in a different way. Rather than simply putting the print article on line, they're using their web site to provide supplemental information. When I write one of those articles, I have to do more work than if I was just writing for print - I may need to prepare some sound clips, make a drawing, take screen shots or photos, and write more text, what amounts to sidebars that don't rate paper and ink.

    I also have to edit my work more severely because they always want fewer words in the print version than they used to, since they can supplement it with an on-line supplement. It's almost like I have to write two articles, or one main article and a few supplemental articles, and edit them as such. Goodness knows! We wouldn't want to make the MAGAZINE EDITORS do more work to organize their supplemental publication, would we? Yet I haven't been offered any more money for the "new media" format.

    It's fun, it's just supplemental income for me, and I'm not planning to go on strike any time soon. But it makes me think harder about how, and for what, writers are paid and should be paid.
    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

  • #2
    ...everybody is getting greedy...
    Abort obama, not babies!

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    • #3
      this just shows the good and bad side of being in/having a union.

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      • #4
        They deserve a taste of the internet. Eventually that's going to be the delivery for most of this content. Seems fair.
        Support Live Music!

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        • #5
          On LA talk radio yesterday I heard a good sound bite from one of the union spokespersons...

          Our mantra is "If they make money, we make money."

          That makes sense to me.
          __________
          Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
          Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
          Jesus

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          • #6
            I heard Jay Leno say that he pays his writers sh*t, so he supports them being able to get momey from internet sales/downloads etc.

            I also heard he took some crispy creme's out to the writers picket line for a show of support. Good for him.
            "Everything is on the one"

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            • #7
              One of my old pals is on the line. He's story editor (which makes him a key figure) for the Battlestar Gallactica series. I don't think this is very convenient for them... but, you know, the union's the union and when you got that union badge you got to walk the line with your brothers and sisters. He had to fly down from story conferences to hit the bricks with a sign and a union song in his heart...
              .

              music and social links | recent listening

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              • #8
                One of my old pals is on the line. He's story editor (which makes him a key figure) for the Battlestar Gallactica series. I don't think this is very convenient for them... but, you know, the union's the union and when you got that union badge you got to walk the line with your brothers and sisters. He had to fly down from story conferences to hit the bricks with a sign and a union song in his heart...


                kind of hijacks independence/free will... i dont think i could ever join a union.

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                • #9
                  It's mandatory if you're a teacher for a public school system. We don't have a choice, no matter how effective or lame our union is. A union is a double-edged sword, with great aspects and lousy aspects (I think Alphajerk was eluding to this).
                  Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                  • #10
                    I'm a writer by trade so I suppose I should be sympathetic, but in some ways I am so brazenly cynical about entertainment industries and product that I kind of laugh at this--"we'll bring the culture to its knees!" I knew a couple of people who made decent money writing screenplays that they were told in advance would never be produced--wheel greasers, fodder, empty calories...there was another name for them that I forget

                    Maybe more kids will read Greek mythology or watch Simpsons reruns...great either way.

                    I though reality TV killed TV writers anyway?

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                    • #11
                      I heard Jay Leno say that he pays his writers sh*t, so he supports them being able to get momey from internet sales/downloads etc.

                      I also heard he took some crispy creme's out to the writers picket line for a show of support. Good for him.


                      That's because he's a member of The Writer's Union himself, as is Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and a lot of other talk show hosts, which bars them from writing their own jokes during the strike.

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                      • #12
                        That's because he's a member of The Writer's Union himself, as is Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and a lot of other talk show hosts, which bars them from writing their own jokes during the strike.



                        Yep, just as Tina Fey is.. She's also supporting them a bit. Although I bet Tina shoots some picket line footage and adds it to a 30 Rock show
                        "Everything is on the one"

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                        • #13
                          ...
                          I can see the argument that more people are enjoying their work, so they should get paid proportional to every listener. But are the writers or composers really doing any more work to get wider distribution or additional mileage out of their work? Is the same work any more valuable because it can be distributed in a different form than originally intended?
                          ...

                          I'm actually starting to think about this myself. I'm not a songwriter, but I write articles for magazines now and then, and more magazines are starting to take advantage of the Internet to extend both their readership and content. Pro Audio Review's entire issues are now available on like for those with the patience to read them that way, yet I don't get paid any more for my articles than when they were a print-only publication. ...


                          The writers aren't doing more work, but their work is being exploited for secondary profits, and it's established practice in many industries to grant revenue for this. This is as if record companies gave no royalties to copyright holders for songs sold on iTunes.

                          Gatski isn't charging for Internet access to his magazines in addition to the print version, is he? It seems to me that for most publications the website is meant to drive people back to print, and in the cases where the website is an attempt to make profit, the writing was contractually a work for hire - if the WGA's members' work wasn't a work for hire (as with any situation where royalties are granted for other markets), compensation is probably due.
                          doug osborne | my day job

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                          • #14
                            What Doug said.
                            __________
                            Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
                            Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
                            Jesus

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                            • #15
                              Our mantra is "If they make money, we make money."

                              That makes sense to me.
                              So wait until they make money and then get a cut. In some fields, they call that "residuals." It's like the extra money you get when your song gets used in a movie.

                              Honestly, I haven't studied out the details of this strike. Maybe that's exactly what they're asking for, but it sounds from what I've heard like they're just asking for more money up front on the assumption that their work will get more exposure. Maybe it will, maybe it won't.

                              Of course going on strike and forcing programming into reruns is one sure way of getting more mileage out of their work, for which they no doubt deserve more money for sitting on their butts and not writing.
                              --
                              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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