by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 13th 2008 12:33pm
I've already explained why I think the TV writers were striking over the wrong issue. Even though it's easy to feel sympathy for the writers (and to dislike the studios who certainly have a long history of not playing fair), the unintended consequences coming from the now completed deal will cause harm to the industry over the long term. By trying to get a cut of internet usage on top of existing deals, the writers have just made it more expensive for the entertainment industry to adapt to the internet and more difficult for them to experiment with different business models -- even if the deal terms aren't as complete as the writers were originally demanding. Part of the reason the recording industry is having so much trouble adjusting to the modern era is that there are so many different royalties, making it nearly impossible to do anything new or innovative -- even if the end result would be more content and more money available for participants. There's a reason why most businesses work with pay-for-hire arrangements rather than royalties. It makes the process much more efficient and allows the company producing the product to have more flexibility in trying to sell the product. While it may seem like a victory for the writers, by limiting what mainstream content producers can do to adapt to the internet, it merely opens up more opportunity for others to route around this deal and do something more innovative, leaving the big studios that employ these writers in the dust.
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