this li’l light o’ mine


In the interests of keeping the WGA strike simple, from now on, you can just refer people to this entry for everything they need to know. You might have seen one or both of these, but here’s why we are on strike, in a nutshell:

Thank god the internet exists, for thousands of reasons (including all of you, my wonderful friends) but just being able to get this across visually is worth a million of us in red T-shirts.

Okay, now on to Carolina basketball.

0 thoughts on “this li’l light o’ mine

  1. John Bland

    This is the best one I’ve seen yet; admittedly not as hilarious or snarky, but awfully instructive.
    And for those of you who STILL don’t get it, I’ll let John August tell you before you even link to his site:
    “I’ll stop here to say that if you don’t think songwriters or novelists deserve royalties, I’ve lost you. Everything else I’m about to say is predicated on the belief that a creator (i.e. songwriter, novelist) is entitled to profit from the success of his or her work. If you disagree — if you think that once the publisher writes a check, all bets are off — thanks for reading this far. We’re done.”

  2. jason savage

    two excellent videos. love the balance of the explanatory and the sarcastic. it truly seems like the writers are getting a raw deal, and for what it’s worth, more and more people I’m talking to, who have little more than a cursory understanding of the issue, are completely behind you guys.

  3. craighill

    the lawyers that made the 80% concession way back when with no language in the contract protecting the writers going forward should be shot.
    speaking of shots, i hope the heels hit theirs tonight. we’d also better hope that curry is cold – if he gets hot behind the arc we could be in trouble.

  4. Claudia

    From an observer’s perspective, public support seems to be overwhelmingly (and justifiably) in favor of the WGA. What’s the writers’ perspective?

  5. flaco

    Agreed with craighill about the horrible contract lawyers who conceded the 80% cut!!
    So before the cut, it was 2.5% for a showing on TV, and 1% for home video. Then down to 0.2% for home video as a concession to studios.
    WGA is asking 0.4% for a discrete copy of media: DVD,HDDVD,BlueRay,downloaded file AND 2.5% for an Internet stream?
    What is the 2.5% of, a single instance of a show/movie available to stream, or each stream? Is it 2.5% of the URL or the HIT?
    The only difference now between TV and internet is the broadcast channel (PUSH) vs. the TCP/IP port connection (PULL). Yes, hard drive recorders have made TV viewing asynchronous but still based on a singular broadcast at a given time. The bitrate quality of broadcast is better than internet, but I venture they will be on par soon.
    Given this assumption, it then comes down to the temporal. Will there still be a singular broadcast at a set time, will it be a URL, both?
    Now what if that user wants an archived downloaded version? Will the lines blur as well between definition of stream and download? Will the bitrate and bandwidth be large enough that even the stream is of high enough quality to keep an archived copy?
    Good luck! the negotiations now will dictate the residuals in the nebulous future of media viewing.

  6. ken

    The vids do lay it out pretty clearly. My only question is why the WGA doesn’t hold out for more dough to be honest. That 2-4% seems awfully small.

  7. Nate W.

    John Bland:
    I’m one of those people John August writes about. I don’t think songwriters or novelists deserve royalties. Now, before everyone pulls out their claws, I want to say I think songwriters should receive royalties. I support the writers’ strike and I hope the writers get everything they’re asking for and more besides. I’m a liberal and a union guy. I just don’t think the REASON writers should get royalties is that they DESERVE them. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.
    And the funny thing is NEITHER DOES JOHN AUGUST. Click through to that link you provide to his blog. What you’ll find (in part)is:
    1. An argument that royalties help sustain a middle class.
    2. An argument that royalties help increase the pool of people who can live as writers.
    Notice both of these arguments are arguments that giving writers royalties has good effects. There’s nothing wrong with that. I agree it has good effects. That’s why I want writers to get royalties. But saying that giving writers royalties has good effects is NOT the same thing as saying they deserve them. It would have lots of good effects if Ian gave me $10,000. That doesn’t mean I deserve $10,000 from Ian. The question of what it would be good for me to have is just completely separate from the question of what it is I deserve.
    You can make a persuasive case to give writers royalties without mentioning the term “deserve” at all. Using the language of “fairness” and “dessert” may be useful rhetoric for drumming up public sympathy with your cause, but it’s all just rhetorical smoke and mirrors.
    Nate W.

  8. John Bland

    Deserve – (v.) do something or have or show qualities worthy of reward (or punishment) “That referee deserves a pat on the back.” “Screenwriters deserve residuals for their creative work.”
    Thesaurus: Merit, earn, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be entitled to, have a right to, be qualified for.

  9. Nate W.

    Wow. Okay, let me go slower.
    If writers deserve compensation for their work, they deserve compensation for the value of their contribution to the project they were writers on. That sounds true by definition, right? It’s sounds almost contradictory to say they deserve more than the value of what they contributed, doesn’t it? It sounds equally contradictory to say that they deserve less than the value of what they contributed. We in agreement so far?
    But there’s no such thing as the value of a good or service, apart from the price that good or service fetches in the market. Apples cost .35 a piece at my local grocery store. But what’s the value of an apple? No idea. My guess is that the value of an apple will depend highly on who you’re talking to. If I’m dying of hunger, it’s considerably more value to me than if I’m sated. If I’m allergic to apples, on the other hand, it’s nearly worthless to me. But there’s no such thing as it’s value, in general, as opposed to what I would be willing to pay for it at some particular point in time.
    Another way of putting this is to ask yourself, if you think writers deserve residuals, how much, in terms of residuals, they deserve. I’m not asking how much they’re ASKING for. The writers could be asking for more or less than what they deserve, after all. And I’m not asking for what they’d settle for, either. Again, writers could settle for more or less than what they deserve. I’m asking what the amount it is they deserve. After all, if they deserve something there must be some amount they deserve. 1% of the sale price of a DVD, per DVD? 6%? 6.2%? 6.3854%? How would you even begin to come up with a figure?
    You couldn’t, because there’s nothing to figure out. There is no such thing as the value of their contribution. There’s just the price of it, and the price of it is exactly what’s at stake in the strike. And if there’s no such thing as the value of their contribution, then there’s no such thing as what they deserve based on that contribution.
    Which is just to say that dictionaries aren’t to the point. I don’t disagree with the definition you provided. I agree with it. I just don’t think the writers have done anything to merit, warrant, rate, justify, be worth of, be entitled to, or have a right to, residuals.
    Of course, that’s doesn’t matter, since there are plenty of other good reasons to want the writers to prevail here. It’s just that dessert isn’t one of them. Bringing the notion in just clouds the whole process. The writers are out for their own self interest. They want to maximize how profitable it is to be a writer. If the studio offered them more than they deserved they wouldn’t TURN IT DOWN – that fact alone is enough to show that dessert isn’t what they’re after. They’re out for their own self interest. Nothing wrong with that. The studios are doing the exact same thing. That’s how the market works.
    Nate W.

  10. John Bland

    Semantics (plural noun, usually treated as singular) – the meaning of a word, phrase, meaning or text: “Such quibbling over semantics may seem petty stuff.”
    Nate W., I don’t know you from Adam’s housecat, and I certainly didn’t mean to get into a pissing contest with you over a word I didn’t even use while quoting from a site I found interesting. I apologize if you took offense; none was intended. Take it up with Mr. August.
    I hereby resign from the debating society. Peace be with you all.


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