News and Links: AMPTP vs. The D

UPDATE: The Fremantle picket and rally on Friday will feature a performance by Tenacious D. Also scheduled to appear: Writer Boi. We are told more bookings will be announced.

Most Recent UH News

• Info on the Holiday Harvest Food Drive at picket sites
E-mail from John Bowman on the current WGA proposals
• Financial details of the WGA proposals, analysis of the AMPTP's partial proposal
• AMPTP shifts tone. Will it shift tactics?
• Exclusive info on the WGA counter to fixed-rate online residuals: fair and affordable tiers
• Castle Park event sponsored by WGA writers for families impacted by strike
Carlton Cuse reaffirms resolve to get a fair deal

Around the Web

• Wall Street firm Natixis Bleichroeder said Monday that it will cut its earnings forecast on media conglomerates if the strike lasts into 2008, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"[T]he strike is beginning to have an economic impact on the television business, will shortly begin impacting the film side (and) if not resolved will impact our estimates for 2008."
The investment firm said companies whose earnings could be hurt by a protracted writers strike include CBS, Time Warner, Disney, News Corp. and Viacom. But owners of broadcast networks would be hurt first and CBS the most, Natixis said.
"Assuming the strike costs ABC, CBS and Fox each $100 million of revenue and income off of their $5 billion-$6 billion of TV network and station businesses, the impact would be 9 cents off of our 2008 CBS estimate of $1.95 (earnings per share), 3 cents per share off of our (Disney) estimate of $2.30 and 2 cents per share off of our (News Corp.) estimate of $1.20," the firm said.
$100 million each? And the totality of our proposal is $150 million for all the companies combined and over three years? You know, I'm pleased with all the civility going on now, so I'm not going to say anything more.

Legal columnist Nancy Prager makes an interesting observation: When you watch content for free via BitTorrent, and the companies don't get paid, it's piracy. When you watch content for free via the companies, and the writer doesn't get paid, it's "promotional."

• Kassandra from Washington wrote to alert us about a gesture of support from Tanya Huff, the author of the books on which Lifetime's show "Blood Ties" is based. Tanya found out that Lifetime was not going to air the final two episodes of the season and instead stream them online. She decided to discontinue her official blogging for Lifetime.com in protest. As she writes on her personal site:
[T]his is the message I sent to Lifetime yesterday:
"While I'll certainly blog the last televised episode I feel that, given how much the WGA strike concerns internet downloads and new media, as a member of the WGC I'd be ethically crossing the line should I blog for episodes only available as downloads by an American network. Don't worry about the fans, I'll let them know."
So this is me letting you know. There'll be one final blog for tonight's airing of The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly posted on the Lifetime site. And that's it for them. You can dl the next episode -- We'll Meet Again -- tonight as well but here's the thing about dl's, it's one of the big things the WGA is striking over -- the networks make serious money off them but the writers see none of it -- so I can't in good conscience recommend you do that.
Our thanks go out to Tanya for her stance.

• Pablo Goldbarg, an amateur filmmaker in NYC who's been volunteering on the picket lines, posted these great sound bites from Guild east members and supporters including Tina Fey and John Hodgman.

Jeff Schubert writes that WGA negotiator Mark Gunn will participate in a live interview tonight at 8:00pm Pacific on his Internet film show "Filmnut." Questions from viewers will be taken via IM.


Skyfleur said...

Legal columnist Nancy Prager makes an interesting observation: When you watch content for free via BitTorrent, and the companies don't get paid, it's piracy. When you watch content for free via the companies, and the writer doesn't get paid, it's "promotional."

I believe Ms. Prager took it from a writer's blog ;).
I first saw that analysis on Alex Epstein's blog who was quoting Kay Reindl. Kay went even further, she just encouraged downloading ;)


Bogmedown said...

Ahh yeah.. time to vent. I’m getting REALLY TIRED of the onslaught of videos posted on YouTube by some of the so called “writers” on strike. They are sooooo far out of the loop they may never, ever get it. If you are a writer on strike or know someone on strike and are reading this now… please sit down for a reality check.

#1 - 99.99999999999% of EVERYTHING you guys write - SUCKS! And I’m not talking regular suck.. I’m talking BIG TIME SUCK! If every show on television were to dissappear tomorrow, it wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. If my TV spontaneously burst into flames I could care less… as long as it didn’t burn my house down. Bottom line is that everything you guys are writing sucks… and does so in a BIG way.

#2 - I can get all the entertainment I need from the Internet. Funny how you losers have to turn to YouTube to launch your crybaby festivals. You’re pathetic. NOBODY CARES! Oh, I could be wrong. I’m sure the millions of starving people in Africa are in agony because of the trials and tribulations you are going through. Hypocrites.

#3 - Try reading some of the comments on the PATHETIC YouTube videos you losers have been posting. Do you see a trend? Scary, isn’t it? Nobody gives a rats buttocks.

#4 - What is this anyway… some kind of threat? Do you really think we’re all sooooo pathetic that we have nothing else to do but to center our lives around your GODAWFUL, HORRIBLY NASTY, UNTALENTED (and pathetic) shows? If anyone has a clue they will realize that is a pretty big insult. Especially considering how untalented ya’ll are.

Well, I’m done ranting for now… I really hope that things don’t go your way and you all end up screwing yourselves over… because you certainly deserve it. The baseball strike WAS the most pathetic strike in history… but you morons have the new world record now. After this is over… you clueless idiots will never go on strike again.

Skyfleur said...

bogmedown : nice rant.

Just a stupid question : does someone holds the barrel of a gun on your head to make you watch those videos ?

Cause since you seem so peeved up it means you had to suffer through each of them, no ?

I would advise you 1) don't watch them, you'll save yourself the aggravation 2) throw your tv away since you don't seem to need it 3) cancel any subscription you have for cable /satellite tv.
4) find yourself another hobby than surfing the net (like reading, oh shoot I forgot you need writers for that as well :D)

I hope you don't like movies either, cause hum the strike also affects movies. I just wanted to point this out since you only talked about tv shows.

Enjoy the next season of American Idol ;) Oh yes I forget, you need a tv for that.

Captain Obvious said...

Yeah the piracy vs. promotional thing has been said by several people in several different ways. I also saw a comic drawn in the "political cartoon" style on the subject.

Bogmedown, you *are* aware that writers write movies too, correct? Do you never watch movies, either?

Captain Obvious said...

...by the way the show at Fremantle sounds like it will be a riot. Wonder if the media will pay any attention to it?

David Grenier said...


1. Whether the writing sucks or not is pointless to argue because it's 100% subjective. The point is that as long as someone is making money off of the writing, the writers deserve to get paid for it.

2. This point doesn't even make sense. What are you trying to say, that if the studios keep 100% of the proceeds from new media instead of 97.5% of the proceeds from new media, then there will be no more starving people in Africa?

3. Try reading the comments on any youtube video. They're generally full of folks (like you) ranting and raving. If they were representative of the country, we'd have long since imploded.

4. You obviously don't understand labor relations. Refusal to work for an unacceptable wage or in unacceptable conditions is not a threat, it's a right. Most people who actually work for a living eventually figure this out. Doing so in an organized fashion vastly increases the likelihood that the wages and conditions will be improved, whereas doing so in an individualistic fashion generally means you get another job with crappy wages and conditions, and someone else takes your old crappy job, and nothing ever gets fixed.

Believe it or not, the world does not revolve around you and your viewing habits, and the WGA didn't decide to throw themselves and their friends out of work just to annoy you.

kaotic chick said...

thats a really good point..damn hypocrites..you have got to check out this clip on effinfunny.com about the AMPTP's side of the writes strike story..http://effinfunny.com/writersstrike

John Aboud said...

Sorry, bogmedown, but I don't see how the relative quality of tv shows has anything to do with fair and just compensation for workers.

In the time you spent composing your comment, you could have made a run to your local library and checked out a great book

I recommend "What Makes Sammy Run?" by Budd Schulberg.

Ayem Petey Peetrole said...


I will be right beside you!

I mean, really. I thought this strike was supposed to be “serious.” And what do I get? A bunch of moronic videos about it -- from WGA members.

Yes, all TV writing is garbage. You think I watched all the episodes of “The Sopranos?” No. None of them. So, take that, all you aesthetes!

TV is all crap, like bogmedown says. Deadwood, The Shield, Six Feet Under, West Wing, blah, blah, blah. Nuke it.

Like you, bogmedown, I don’t need TV. I can get all my entertainment from the internet. Because, there, the writing, no matter what site I go to, is much, much more skillful and intelligent -- as is the quality of production. “2 Girls 1 Cup” showed us that we not only don’t need bone-headed writers, we also don’t need “episodes, arcs, seasons,” nor do we need directors, actors, directors of photography, production designers ... etc.

<< ... Especially considering how untalented ya’ll are. >>

YEAH! I knew you were a down-to-earth, Southern or Midwestern type of person. “Ya’ll.” You’re the real audience!

There’s no hope that your message go through to any of these WGA jack-offs (I blush to admit I’m a member of this union, too).

You and I, bogmedown, know that the WGA is, like any union, a gang that exists to drag the most rewards down to the least deserving of its members.

(Just like you and all y’all’s buddies know that “Feminism” is a union for ugly women)! LOL!

makomk said...

Hmmm... I wonder what the real cost of the WGA's proposals is. On past form, I'm guessing it's much higher than they're saying. (How much higher, I'm not sure.) Unfortunately, it's unlikely that anyone's going to call them on it, so I'll probably never know.

Ayem Petey Peetrole said...

On the nose, makomk. The WGA's proposals probably will cost double what they claimed. Meaning -- $300 million over the next 3 years. And, yes, of course no one will ever know. It's a greedy union, no less so than the greedy companies.

If you can find out the true figure, makomk, please post it asap.

David Grenier said...


There's a huge difference between wanting to get paid for your work and wanting to make money off of other people's work without paying them. To characterize both as "greed" is just illogical.