Writers Guild of America: Why They're Striking

[YouTube Link]

By now, you'd probably heard about the Writers Guild strike (or at least noticed that all the late night shows are airing only reruns) - but what is it all about anyhow?

In this short clip, the Writers Guild of America explained what they wanted and why they're striking (yup, it boils down to more money, from DVD sales and future revenue streams from the Internet, the so-called "New Media").

The video clip makes their position sounds fairly reasonable (for example, an increase of DVD residuals from 4¢ to 8¢ per copy, and that new media will likely supplant DVD sales). The studios countered that DVD sales are necessary because of rising production and marketing cost - and who knows what all the Internet hoopla will bring? It's an unproven market.

While the strike plays out, let me play the devil's advocate here: why have residuals at all? Don't writers get paid well to begin with? If they don't think they're making enough without residuals, why not ask to get paid more in the beginning? Isn't that how market forces are supposed to work?

Or maybe the solution is to make the residual system more fair: writers get a bigger share of the pie if the movie makes money, but have to pay if the movie flops and the studio loses money. That way, they're truly partners - Fair is fair, right?

What do you think?

Links: United Hollywood, a blog by the writers on strike | 2007 Writers Guild of America Strike [wiki]

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