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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Writers demanding pay, respect

Opinion-Writers demanding pay, respect

cartoon1128About 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike early in November when a compromise could not be reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

After nearly 20 years of holding back, the writers are fighting for a few demands.

Though this is ultimately a matter of money, the WGA undoubtedly had good reasons to strike and perhaps will at last be heard.

The strike began as a result of months of negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP. Writers get paid a small percentage of the DVD price for every movie or show they have helped write that is sold.

The conflict, which has been going on for years, is that writers believe they should get an increase in their percentage and they should be getting paid for “new media” such as Internet downloads.

According to the Writers Guild, these payments would make a huge difference because most writers struggle to make ends meet.

The impact of the strike is already being seen.

Late night talk shows have resorted to reruns while dramas, sitcoms, soap operas and daytime talk shows are quickly running out of finished scripts to air.

The outcome will be that viewers will find themselves watching a lot more reality TV.

After three months of negotiations and still no compromise, it is clear the writers deserve a long-awaited raise in profit shares.

The president of WGA West, Patric Verrone, confirmed that in the three months, the union dropped nine of its proposals in order to reach a compromise; the studios, however, failed to accept the compromise.

According to Adams Media Research, consumers will spend $16.4 billion on DVDs this year. Additionally, studios are expected to bring in $352 million from selling movies and TV shows online.

Currently, writers receive 1.2 percent of 20 percent of the profits, which is about 3 cents for every $20 DVD. They are asking for their share to be calculated from 40 percent instead of 20 percent; this is a small increase and a reasonable demand.

Because Hollywood movies and shows have created a multi-billion dollar profit, writers’ requests can be met without putting a strain on the industry.

Verrone simplified the issue by saying, “When a writer’s work generates revenue for the companies, that writer deserves to be paid.”

Writers should receive their fair share of the profit created through their own work.

A WGA member recently accused the AMPTP of preferring to shut down studios than compromise with the union. The WGA has also said it is fighting not only for money, but also for respect.

So while neither the WGA nor the AMPTP is rushing back for negotiations or compromises, the AMPTP should remember the 1988 strike. After 22-weeks and a loss of $500 million, the industry lost more than it bargained for.

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