Actors Now Fighting For Royalties That Will Make It Harder For Big Studios To Compete

from the short-sighted dept

After the TV writers' strike from earlier this year, we noted that the final settlement actually was not in the best interest of the writers, even though they got much of what they wanted in demanding royalties from online usage of their content. The actors unions are now gearing up for that same battle, as well, as they, too, are demanding rights over online usage, including royalties and the right to demand permission before any of the works they appear in can be used online. It's difficult to feel sorry for Hollywood producers here -- as they very much brought this on themselves, convincing lots of people that they should get paid every single time any of their content was used. Thus, it's no surprise that the writers and the actors are now demanding the same rights.

However, just as it was wrong for the producers to be demanding a fee for every usage, so is it wrong for the writers and the actors to be demanding such a fee. All it will do is make it much more difficult, time consuming and expensive for any of that content to go online. And that will open up much wider opportunities for other content to go online instead, decreasing the overall value of the content made under these agreements. It's hard to fault the actors (like the writers) for looking out for their short-term interests and demanding the same sorts of things that the producers have demanded of everyone else -- but it's setting up a bad situation over the long-term, where the studios under these agreements won't be able to adapt to the changing media landscape.

Filed Under: actors, entertainment industry, hollywood, online, producers, royalties, streaming, strike

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  1. identicon
    Panskeptic, 12 May 2008 @ 7:38pm


    First of all, only a few actors/actresses make any money at all. Seven eighths of the SAG/AFTRA membership are out of work at any one time. So don't go green from counting other peoples' money - they're not doing that well that you can get jealous.

    Secondly, the denial of permission for usage is a rollback. As it stands now, if you're in a movie, and the producers want to sell a clip starring you to, say, the Ku Klux Klan, the Friends of Robert Mugabe, the Six Year Olds Aren't Too Young To Boogey Fan Club, the Goatf*ckers Chowder and Marching Society, they have to get your permission before selling the clip that will forever associate your face with those people.

    So that's already in place for theatrical and broadcast. Why shouldn't it be extended to online? Because they're greedy bastards, that's why, and they don't care if you, yes you, become the public face of some people you'd otherwise cross the street to stay away from.

    Just imagine the people you hate most in the world, then imagine your smiling face on their website. There's nothing you can do to stop the implied endorsement, the rest of the world associating you with that cause for the rest of you career/life.

    The actors are right to ask. The producers are wrong to challenge.

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