The US writers’ strike: good point, well made

Michael Colton, writing in The Boston Globe:

The way that the big media companies treat writers would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening. For instance, NBC streams full episodes of shows like “The Office” online – with ads – and avoids paying the writers by calling it a promotion. Yet when a 15-year-old posts an episode of a show online without compensating writers, the studios call it piracy.

[Via Fark]

7 thoughts on “The US writers’ strike: good point, well made

  1. Tony Kiernan says:

    Much as I agree with the general “the writers should get more” tone of that, I think it’s an irrelevant point pretty poorly made. The hypothetical 15-year-old is taking a product in which someone has invested heavily and denying them any revenue/profit from it. Currently, this leaves the writers in the same situation they are now. It is the media company that are out of pocket. They have already paid the writer no matter how they see their returns affected.

    Erm, basically, the issue is how much of the continuing profits the companies give the writers. Piracy is irrelevant to the arguments.

    Don’t think we’re going to see record deal like contracts for writers, but apparently the people that make the cases get more per DVD sold than the writers do. (Don’t ask me to back that up it was just something I heard on Film 2007)

  2. Squander Two says:

    It’s not an entirely irrelevant point. What struck me is that the same firms who’ve been screaming blue murder about their profits disappearing into the massive downloading black hole are now telling writers that downloading is an unproven technology and it remains to be seen whether anyone will use it. Since that is the stance that led directly to the strike, the self-contradicting nature of their opinions is rather relevant.

    Meanwhile, Mark Steyn makes an entirely different type of good point:

    Until this here Hollywood writers’ strike came along, I had no idea so much of television was scripted. One charitably assumed it was the way it was because they were winging it.

  3. Stephen says:

    Completely off-topic I know (sorry Gary!) but does anyone have any experience with simple e-commerce solutions? My optician client wants to start selling sunglasses online, and if you can help me do this, get in touch, we’ll split the profit or something.

  4. Gary says:

    If he’s running Windows, the Actinic range is very good. Simplest one is an online job, the rest of the range does stock control and order processing as well as site building. Doddle to use, too.

  5. Gary says:

    Shopcreator’s pretty good too, albeit fairly pricey at £45 per month. And there’s EROL small business edition, at £400ish. That’s good too. 1&1 Internet has an eShop system that’s a fiver per month, but I haven’t used it so I don’t know if it’s ace or arse.

    Sorry if these are too basic / too expensive – without knowing the number of products I’m just firing out various suggestions. One thing worth considering in the case of Actinic and EROL is that they’re scalable, so if the site becomes a sunglasses empire it’s easy to move to a more powerful/bigger system without having to start again from scratch.

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