Lindelof on the WGA Strike
I’ve been following media coverage of the Writers’ Guild strike, and it’s really unsettling to see how the writers are being portrayed as greedy bastards who don’t care that TV crew-members will be losing their jobs soon. In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Damon Lindelof, who writes for Lost–a show I watched on TV here and streamed online when I was in Morocco on my Fulbright–explains why the strike is necessary:
The motivation for this drastic action — and a strike is drastic, a fact I grow more aware of every passing day — is the guild’s desire for a portion of revenues derived from the Internet. This is nothing new: for more than 50 years, writers have been entitled to a small cut of the studios’ profits from the reuse of our shows or movies; whenever something we created ends up in syndication or is sold on DVD, we receive royalties. But the studios refuse to apply the same rules to the Internet.
My show, “Lost,” has been streamed hundreds of millions of times since it was made available on ABC’s Web site. The downloads require the viewer to first watch an advertisement, from which the network obviously generates some income. The writers of the episodes get nothing. We’re also a hit on iTunes (where shows are sold for $1.99 each). Again, we get nothing.