2007 WRITERS STRIKE
Fans Reaching Out to Touch the AMPTP Where It Hurts
FireDogLake has launched a web site that makes it click-through-easy for a fan to email the studios behind their favorite shows.
The creators of your favorite television shows and films, represented by the Writers Guild of America, need your support in their strike against Big Media — the six companies that control almost all of what you see, most of what you hear, much of what you read.
There have been rumors that major advertisers, hearing the concerns of viewers and livid over the conduct of the networks, have threatened to take all their commercials off the air if the strike isn’t settled before Christmas. That’s a serious threat, with serious consequences.
You can use the tool on the website and to write to the CEO’s and executives in charge of your favorite show.
This is the letter that will come in your email:
I cannot tell you how many hours of pleasure the creators and writers of this show have brought into our lives. It is for that reason that I write to ask you have your negotiators return to the table and work out a fair deal with those writers.
Your organization, the AMPTP, has now broken off talks, walking away from the bargaining table for the second time in weeks. The writers remain ready to negotiate.
The writers are asking for a fair share of internet and new media revenues–revenues you yourselves trumpet loudly. Robert Iger talks about "a billion five in digital." Sumner Redstone says, "Viacom will double its revenues this year from digital." Rupert Murdoch says the digital era holds "golden opportunities." Disney’s annual report says, "The popularity of the ABC.com player adds to the Company’s considerable success in monetizing its biggest hits." Les Moonves says that when five million people watch CSI on the internet, "We will get paid for it regardless… We’re going to get paid no matter where you get it from." (He projected a two billion dollar profit from that show alone.) Yet the Alliance of Television and Motion Picture Producers (AMPTP), negotiating for your company, says that the internet and new media markets are still too iffy, too conjectural to give writers a fair piece of. Worse, it claims the right to stream entire movies and whole television episodes, with advertising, for "promotional" purposes, without compensating the writers for this re-use. These positions do not make common sense. (When studios and networks doesn’t get paid, it’s called "piracy." When the studios and networks don’t pay writers, it’s called "promotion.")
Please tell the AMPTP to take the money they so willing spend on megabucks "crisis managers" and apply it instead to a fair contract. Please tell the AMPTP to return to the table fairly so that the television season–and my favorite show–can resume. I love watching it, but I love the idea of treating its creators and writers fairly even more.