PWAC Urges Freelancers to Support American Writers' Strike

The following press release is from PWAC. My impression of the strike has been very different, suggesting that writers are trying to treat new media as if it was the same as old media (effectively disallowing programming on new media). I am wondering what other people think.

Is this a case where creators are wanting to receive their legitimate rewards and are being denied it by old-media intermediaries, or is this an extension of the "Internet on Cable --> Internet as Cable" debate?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 9, 2007

PWAC URGES FREELANCERS TO SUPPORT AMERICAN WRITERS’ STRIKE

The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) is urging its members and all freelance writers in Canada to accept no freelance work that would violate the picket lines in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike.

The WGA established picket lines earlier this week at all major Hollywood studios and television production companies. The writers are striking for a new collective agreement providing better compensation for work used in new media and residuals stemming from DVD sales. According to recent WGA statements, the union is prepared to keep writers out of American television and film production for as long as it takes to negotiate a deal that will protect writers’ rights in digital media. The last major writers’ strike to hit that industry occurred in 1988, and is estimated to have cost television networks over $500 million.

PWAC joins the Writers Guild of Canada (the organization representing professional screenwriters in Canada) and other writer organizations in support of this important labour action.

Established in 1976, PWAC is the national organization representing 600 professional freelance writers and journalists in Canada.

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Seems reasonable...

While I haven't read about this topic thoroughly, it doesn't look to me as though the writers are asking for something which is unreasonable. They provided a service, and the intermediaries get more revenue from releasing the results of that service in a new medium---why should the writers not also benefit from the release in a new medium?

The concept of a "collective agreement providing better compensation for work used in new media and residuals stemming from DVD sales" seems quite fair to me. Of course, I'm not sure about the details of the bargaining and demands, so it could be a whole different situation in practise.

Too generic.. need to get more specific!

I don't think it is possible to over-simplify things this way, as the whole debate exists within the details. It is a bit redundant to say that creators should be compensated -- sort of like saying gravity works downwards, as an answer to someone who is asking what you weigh (on earth -- an important detail).

For-instance, in the music industry composers have been asking for a certain percentage of the revenue, something I've strongly supported. If, on the other hand, they were asking for a certain amount of money "per copy" or "per listener" then this would not be reasonable as not all relevant business models are based on these metrics.

I have since been reading conflicting stories on the writers strike as to whether they are asking for a reasonable percentage of revenues, or they are asking for an unreasonable amount "per viewer" or some other metric that doesn't make sense under new media.

What rewards are measured against is critical in new media given counting ears/eyeballs or copies is no longer helpful, and doing so shuts down most possible new revenue streams.


Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

P2Pnet adds in some amusing clips

A story on p2pnet makes reference to two amusing clips.

I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on this on the blogs. I think I've been corrected by other sites about what is being asked for (a percentage of actual revenue from any given media), and thus it appears I should be on the side of the writers.


Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

They should stay firm in

They should stay firm in defending their rights and recognition, as a content freelancer I can't see things the other way, writers need respect above all.