by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 7th 2007 3:15am
One of the things that has always been part of the problem with the entertainment industry's business model is the idea that any time any of its content is used for anything, the industry needs to get paid. Most of the rest of the world works in a work-for-hire world. You get paid to do a job and then you're done. The factory worker gets his salary and doesn't make extra royalties every time one of the widgets he builds is sold or resold. Otherwise, you get weird situations with people whining that they need to keep getting paid for work they did 50 years ago. Of course, if you're from the entertainment industry (and I can already hear you readying your replies), you insist that this is how it must be done -- despite plenty of evidence that it need not be done this way (and that doing it that way can limit the potential market for the content). Apparently, however, the movie studios disagree with you. Well, partly. They agree that's how it must be done when they're getting paid money. So every time a movie is being shown or sold, you better believe the studios want their cut. However, the studios feels quite differently when they have to pay money out. That's why they're trying to negotiate residuals out of the new writers' contract. That's right. Suddenly, the movie industry that insists it must get paid for every possible use of a movie, doesn't think it makes sense to pay the writer after the initial set fee for writing the movie. It actually makes much more economic sense for the writers to be paid a straight fee with no residuals -- but it's a bit hypocritical for the Hollywood studios to claim it makes sense when it benefits them and doesn't when it costs them.
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