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Monday, November 19, 2007

Writers Strike

I love this email. Reminds me why it's so damn great to have writers on your side.

The WGAE and the WGAW issued this statement in response to the AMPTP's misleading newspaper ads:

Nice try, AMPTP. In the words of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The AMPTP's paid and patronizing advertisement in yesterday's New York Times and Los Angeles Times is guilty of what most charitably could be called sins of omission.

The AMPTP maintains, "It is important to make clear that writers currently do receive residuals for digital downloading (regardless of whether the download is temporary or permanent)... The Guild is seeking at least a 700 percent increase over what writers currently receive, and more than a 200 percent increase over what they receive for Internet 'pay per view.'"

FACT: In our abandoned negotiations, the AMPTP insisted that the residual rate for digital downloading be pegged to the current rate for DVDs, a penurious third of one cent on the dollar. Let's repeat that: A THIRD OF A PENNY!!

The 700 percent increase they refer to roughly translates as 2.1 cents, the 200 percent as 2.5 cents. The AMPTP, as the saying goes, uses numbers the way a drunk uses a lamppost - more for support than illumination. Do the math and you'll see what we're asking for is nothing more than a small, fair respectful share of revenues.

The AMPTP states that it "has offered to pay writers a percentage of the revenues the producer receives from licensing streamed content on the Internet."

FACT: The AMPTP "offer" would allow them to continue to air the streamed content FOR FREE for the first six weeks after its initial broadcast release. In other words, the time period during which there would be the most demand from the public and the most bang for the advertising buck. After that time is over, they would throw us a fraction of the bone of whatever's left.

According to the AMPTP, "No labor agreement in history has given writers, actors or directors a portion of advertising dollars."

FACT: As their own ad notes, technology is rapidly changing the way our business works. They themselves admit, "There's a paradigm shift in how entertainment is distributed and consumed." They offer streaming video for free, but make millions for the copious advertising that accompanies the content. It's only fair that the creators, the storytellers that make those revenues possible, get a tiny taste of the pie.

Stop spinning and wasting money on expensive ads, AMPTP. Come to the table and bargain.

Contents copyright 2007, Writers Guild of America, East. All rights reserved.

The Writers Guild of America East

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