Monday, November 5, 2007

Strike Solved

Dear me, the Hollywood writers have gone on strike. How will we get by without our Daily Show fix? Well, it'll be good for the blog -- content-starved viewers will become readers.

Apparently the big issue is payments for DVDs, Internet sales, and other new media. What I don't understand is this: the studios say that they can't increase payments for these media because "it is too early to know how much money they can make from offering entertainment on the Internet and on cell phones, iPods and other devices."

That statement would make sense if the contract had to call for some fixed payment, such as $1 per DVD sold. If it was too early to know whether the studio's profit on the DVD sale would be $10 or 10 cents, the studio would indeed be in a poor position to figure out what the writer's cut should be.

But I presume the studios have heard of percentages? Why can't the contract just provide that the writers get 3% or 5% or whatever percent of the studio's profit? That way, whether the studio makes a lot or a little, the writers get an appropriate share.

I know, I know, Hollywood is beset by bizarre accounting practices that ensure that studios don't earn profits, so everyone has to take a cut of the gross instead, which brings us back to the same problem as a fixed dollar payment. Well, do you want your accounting practices or do you want to solve your labor problem? You'd just have to provide for some fair accounting practices in the labor contract. Probably that would be better for everybody in the long run anyway.

There, I solved the strike. Can we get the Daily Show back now?

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