I'd like to say a little something about the current television & film writers' strike.
Upon hearing the writers would be striking to protest their lack-of-compensation for shows offered on the internet, my initial reaction was, "Of course they should be paid for that. They did the work, they should be fairly compensated."
I was going to leave it at that. Really. I promise...
But the media wouldn't leave it alone, so I actually thought about it some more.
And I started to switch sides a bit. Now, it's no secret that I'm generally anti-union. I get a little hot-under-the-collar every time I pay $500 for an airplane ticket, knowing that I'd be paying markedly less if the airline didn't have to pay a bunch of guys $25/hour to lose my bags.
Even so, I have family who are in the entertainment industry, and they've done film and television work before. They are intensely pro-union (especially, of course, SAG & WGA). I look at the time and effort they put into their jobs, and I'm astounded that someone could so devote themselves to a craft that, Cruise/Hanks etc. aside, is not terribly well-paid. And that's just the actors. So, when it comes to a situation like this, I firmly stamp down on my anti-union bent, and try to look at it in an unbiased manner.
And where my head keeps meeting the wall is: These folks are creating a product. Sure, it's not really tangible, and it's pretty much nothing until someone else runs with it, but it is a product. Scripts can be bought and sold just as any other tangible thing.
So should, for example, manufacturers of movie seats get a portion of ticket sales? They spent their time, effort, and money creating those foldy beauties, so that we might enjoy a movie now and again, right? Those movie seats are arguably as integral to the movie business as the movies themselves, right? I mean, c'mon, nobody's going to pay box-office price if they've got to stand up while they watch Brokeback Mountain, are they?
Of course they wouldn't. But why should we scoff at a movie-seat-manufacturers-union? This argument is about the right to do work, and keep getting paid for it loooooooong after that work is done.
Nobody else gets to do that. If I set up a corporation for someone -- drafting articles, bylaws, and all the other documents as well as providing education to the person in control -- should I get to demand a portion of all proceeds from that corporation, in perpetuity?...
On third thought, I've re-switched sides. I'm all for the writers again. I'm going to form a Creative Thought Incorporation Network (CreTIN, for short), to unite all attorneys who set up businesses so that we may stand in solidarity with our ink-stained brothers and sisters. We'll demand equal rights for all keyboard-jockeys, no matter where they roam!
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