Striking Writers Point Out Viacom Hypocrisy; Claiming Online Video Is Worthless While Suing YouTube For $1 Billion

from the wave-or-a-particle? dept

While I tend to agree with Tim Lee's comments about why the Writers Guild strike is misguided (and the guild itself is increasingly obsolete), it is rather amusing to see the hypocrisy of the studio bosses, claiming that they won't pay the writers anything for the use of their content online because there's no money online at the very same time that they're suing YouTube for $1 billion, claiming they need to protect their valuable online content. Boing Boing points us to an amusing video by some of The Daily Show's writers highlighting this contradictory stance:
Of course, while it's easier to feel sympathy for the writers (and very, very, very difficult to feel any for the studios), the studios are correct that the content is promotional (and they're wrong when they sue for $1 billion). Just as most people aren't paid extra every time a product they helped create gets sold, the writers are only asking for trouble if they really do want residuals for every use of the content they write. It's the same thing that's caused the problems the entertainment industry faces in the first place: the ridiculous demand that every time any piece of content is used for any purpose that money must change hands. The writers are paid by the studios to write content. If the studios are making more money by creatively promoting the shows, then they can start to pay the writers more. But setting up a system where every use requires payment is simply perpetuating the problems the industry is facing and will make it harder for the industry to adjust to the rapidly changing market. While we'd all like the writers of shows we like to get paid well, setting up a system that will cripple the overall distribution of the content won't do them any benefit. It will just open up avenues for other, non-TV, content to take their place.
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Filed Under: promotional goods, writers strike


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2007 @ 9:02pm

    Screw the striking writers and their "oh, we're not getting money from internet distribution" crap.

    First of all, shut the fuck up -- you get paid to sit on your ass and WRITE SHOWS FOR A LIVING. There are people who would kill to have your job. And while we're on it, I don't have any particular respect or romanticism or sympathy toward "starving artists". You are the one who wasted your college education on an art degree and decided that playing with fingerpaint for a living was more important to you than a real job making real money. If you can't survive painting and drawing pictures, then go get a real degree and do real work. You have to decide what is more important to you -- a half million dollar house or a job that you love to do.

    Most importantly -- who cares about your royalties online?! I write software for a living. Very expensive, mission-critical software that hundreds of millions of people around the world use. My company pays me a salary. I don't get paid every time my company sells another copy of this software.

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