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
    Jake, 12 May 2008 @ 9:43am

    I'm with you up to a point, but not entirely. If online viewing and downloading start to replace DVD sales, as they probably will once the major players give up on DRM as a lost cause, it's going to be increasingly difficult to justify the studio keeping all the money it makes from the 'promotional' use of such materials. Scriptwriters -and to a lesser extent actors- probably don't have as many options for value-added scarce goods as musicians, either; many people will be willing to hear Nine Inch Nails play live after downloading all their albums, but I suspect that rather fewer will go out and buy a DVD for the deleted scenes and making-of documentary after streaming a movie or TV show off the Internet.
    Ultimately, if and when Hollywood starts experimenting with free business models, I reckon they're going to have to either give their script guys a cut from the ad revenue as well as the scarce goods they market on the back of their movies, or all future movies will be written by people who have a regular job the rest of the time and just write scripts because they enjoy doing it. The question of whether the second option would necessarily be a bad thing is perhaps a bit beyond the scope of this blog...

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