Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Heroes and Villains

You'll note a new widget over in the right-hand column, a link supporting the striking Writers Guild of America, the people who script much of the television and film we watch in the U.S.

In essence, the guild is striking against the six media conglomerates who essentially control American media - the usual suspects: GE (who own Universal and NBC); Disney; Time-Warner, Viacom, CBS, and News Corp., which owns Fox.

What the writers want is their fair share of the monies coming from digital distribution of their work: 2.5 cents for each dollar the media conglomerates (who are known under the collective acronym of the AMPTP) make from digital re-use of a TV show or film. Media writers make a lot of their bread from re-use. In their land it's called "residuals." In the print world it's called "royalties." Dependent on who you are and what you write, you get a small to middlin' to large piece of cash up front, and then an income stream from your work that is usually the difference between making a living from your writing or having a not-very-profitable hobby.

It's worth noting at this point that the writers want a piece of the pie. If there's no pie, they don't eat either. The AMPTP claims there is no pie, at least at this point in time.

But, if that's so, why are they fighting against the idea so hard? Why not just give the writers 2.5 percent of zip?

The WGA claims that the members of the AMPTP are lying, since the various organizations are telling their stockholders that they're already making money - big money - from digital downloads, and expect to make pots more. As the WGA FAQ succinctly states, "...lying to shareholders is a federal crime. So we assume they’re lying to us."

As of December 4th, it appeared that there was at least negotiation is progress, but from all reports the issue is far from resolution. If the strike isn't settled by Christmas, you can kiss most of your favorite television series goodbye for most - if not all - of 2008. Most people have no idea how massive a machine television (or film) production companies are. Starting - or restarting - the machine up takes a lot of time, months of time.

So, probably no 24 at all. The last new episode of Heroes was Monday, and all I can do is cross my fingers that I'll see Season 3 before next August. And while I'm on the subject of Heroes, my inner geek wants to know (spoilers coming so don't read if you haven't watched Powerless yet):

  1. As "Adam" quite correctly pointed out, why did the Company keep a potentially world-ending virus on hand rather than simply destroying it (especially since they know they have an invulnerable immortal with lots of time hell-bent on retrieving it)

  2. Maybe they were already thinking about the strike, but couldn't the writers have come up with one line explaining why Peter simply didn't phase through the Vault ("My God, they somehow laid their hands on neutronium!") or teleport in?

  3. We've had sticks and glass shards stuck into the head. Ol' HRG took a bullet in the head and was revived thanks to Clare's blood. Now we're told by Peter's Mom that a bullet in/through the head would stop Adam or Peter? I don't think so. I like the original Highlander Rules - take the head off - better.

  4. Maybe Adam mellowed after 400 years, but one would think he'd have more than a mild "Oh, look who it is" reaction finding his arch-enemy prostrate before him.

  5. Maybe Hiro was having a bad day, but one would think someone with the power to bend Time & Space could come up with a better solution to the problem of an invulnerable immortal than burying him alive. At some point in the future, he's going to be dealing with a crazy invulnerable immortal.

  6. Did anyone else do a mental cheer when Maya was shot, and then went, "Oh, No!" when she was revived? And does Maya have like the world's stupidest superpower or what? Or does now, at least, as her brother's superpower was even stupider.

  7. So okay, Peter, you've never seemed to be the brightest bulb on the planet, powers notwithstanding, but did it ever occur to you to wonder exactly what was going to happen to Caitlin stuck in a future that doesn't exist anymore?

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