I will be certainly be looking at getting a group of like-minded writers together to come up with a comprehensive response to copyright issues. We'll also look at new models, and how people can begin to put them in place in their work.
However, the Writers' Guild is primarily for writers of television, film, radio and theatre (although some authors are members), so there are practical difficulties in disseminating our work without any corporate input. It takes a lot of people working for free to make a sitcom or even to put on a fringe show. At present, the most obvious ways of getting things made are still through traditional channels, but some of us are looking for new ways.
Last year, I began making In The Gloaming a series of comedy-horror audio plays, an anthology series like Hammer House of Horror, The Twilight Zone, or Tales of the Unexpected. At the moment, we distribute them as free podcasts, and we've had very enthusiastic responses from everyone who's heard them.
However, if I want to continue to produce them at a professional level, I'm going to have to be a little more creative than the 'donate' button that we currently use. That has paid for all of the administrative costs of creating all of the podcasts, but it would be nice if I could pay the cast, sound designer, studio, and everyone else. It is possible to make good things without corporate involvement, but it's certainly not easy.
If anyone has any ideas, I'd be happy to hear them.
At present, as well as discussing these things with people outside the union, I think it's a debate worth having within it. A union that can master these issues, and come up with a good, 21st-century response to the challenges we face as creators could be a real force for good, and could get lots of new members, and new business models for existing members.
(In The Gloaming can be found at http://inthegloamingpodcasts.wordpress.com and the episodes are all in the Podcast Archive)
I'm not sure that the boycott, as you have conceived it, will be particularly effective.
It's inconsistent. Unless you are going to leave your televisions and radios turned off for the month of July as well, then you'll be supporting the business models of those who are behind the Digital Economy Bill and ACTA.
If you really want to have an impact, I suggest you boycott things created by large media corporations, but spend what you have saved on things bought direct from the creators, and concentrate on those creators whose business models (freemium or tiered or donations) you think are most worth supporting. Then I suggest you blog about what you didn't buy, what you did buy, what you spent, and what you found available for free and to buy on the internet.
Otherwise, I'm not sure it's clear what you're boycotting. Creative industries except the ones that are free to use (although not free to distribute or download)? Given that people are now alleging copyright infringement in fashion will you not be buying clothes as well?
If you truly want your purchasing power to have an impact, take it away from large corporations, and use it to support those trying to find new ways of supporting themselves whilst making (intangible) things. And then use your blog or Twitter to let everyone (including the corporations) know how much you didn't spend with them, and did with independents.
And maybe don't just do that in July, maybe do it forever...
First, thanks to Techdirt for publishing this. It's great to see the number of creators (and union members) who feel that our unions are on the wrong side of this issue, and I'm hopeful that we can have a proper debate on this Act and the wider issues it throws up.
Dear Anonymous Poster at (4) - I'm not assuming that there will be mass disconnections. I assume that even one disconnection is a potential tragedy for my business. One person, one ardent enthusiast who finds your work, emails it to their friends, leaves comments, and buys what I sell is potentially a lot of lost revenue.
I don't need a lot of people looking at what I do (although that would help), but I do need the right people to see it. There are all sorts of business models being tested right now, not one of them will work more effectovely for having fewer people online and able to have access to them.
Hi, I'm a writer who has taken issue with the Writers' Guild of Great Britain (my union) and their position on the Digital Economy Bill (Act). My response is here: http://nathanieltapley.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/why-my-union-is-wrong/