Monday, February 11, 2008

Could The End Be In Strike?

Well, the Writers' Guild of America has come away from negotiations with the studios, and has come to a tentative agreement - you can read a summary of the terms here.

There's a fair amount of speculation that WGA writers could be back to work in the next week or so, but that's rather dependent on whether the writers vote in favour not only of the terms of the agreement, but whether they vote to stop strike action while that's being thrashed out - I get the impression that this is one of the conditions of the proposed agreement. This initial vote is taking place, as I understand it, between now and the close of Tuesday.

I haven't fully scrutinised all the details of the proposed agreement, but people in the know like the ever-readable John August think it could be a lot worse - and as it makes provision for payments for downloaded material, something which the studios had initially said wasn't feasible, I'm inclined to think the WGA Negotiating Committee has done better than many might have expected them to. Especially given that the studios were initially saying a flat 'uh-uh' to that particular notion (but no, I'm not overlooking the 'unpaid online airing window' element of it, which I gather is quite a sticking point).

I've been asked why I give a monkey's about any of this, given that I'm a UK-based scribbler. Fair question, but the answer's pretty simple: I like TV and films and books and plays and all my media to be well written, and when they are well done, I like to think that the writers behind the work (and in TV and film, let's never forget that they are the very foundation of it; no script, no need to even feed the film into the camera) are being well paid. It's partly because I'd like to be a full-time (and for my own convenience, well-paid) writer, but it's mainly because… well, am I going to have to quote Pastor Niemoller about this? Writers are, after all, human beings, and I'd rather they weren't exploited, any more than, say, children in trainer factories. Apologies if that sounds a bit na├»ve, but there it is.

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