Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Strike is On

You may be thinking, what the heck does the writers strike have to do with me? It's all those rich screen and TV writers picketing.

First off, they're writers - our cousins, even if we're not scriptwriters. But more important, I feel, is that they're fighting for something that affects us.


Internet royalties. DVD revenues. Residual fees for Internet and cell phone streaming. If you want to relate it to yourself, as a fiction or nonfiction writer, think e-books and Internet downloads.

The writers, represented by the Los Angeles-based Writers Guild of America (WGAW) and the New York-based Writers Guild East (WGAE), aren't asking for millions. They're asking for a few pennies at a time. People pay to download a movie to their cell phone. Why shouldn't writers get a bigger share of that money? What would the movie be without the writer?

When your publisher or big search engine puts your book in their "library" and allows or sells downloads, should you, the writer, be compensated each time its downloaded or copied? Writers live and eat by their royalties.

The strike may go on for some time. Writers will feel the worst of the pain. They're not being paid during the strike for jobs they left to join the picket line. But producers of some prime-time series have worked for months to stockpile episodes in hopes of riding out the strike. Major studios are ready through 2008 to withstand the strike.

Yeah, you and I will be affected through reruns and, heaven forbid, more reality TV instead of late-night comedy. But I say, go for it, cuz.

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