AMPAS and Intellectual Property

Warren Olney’s “Which Way, LA?” offered some interesting coverage of the WGA strike Wednesday (listen here). In particular, it included some enlightening remarks from show runner Shawn Ryan (“The Shield” and “The Unit”). Shawn is leading the push by show runners to support the strike, and he’s on the WGA negotiating committee.

The big bugaboo, of course, is residuals for shows that are distributed via the internet. The WGA made a lousy deal for VHS and DVD distribution in the ’80s and never was able to change it. They don’t want to make that same mistake again with the net, where more and more of us are going to be watching TV in the future. (Variety went over some of the deal points in yesterday’s edition, here.)

The whole thing strikes me as mighty strange. Remember that these are the same studios that are obsessed with protecting their intellectual property and preventing piracy — also on the internet. It seems awfully inconsistent that they’re now falling on a sword to keep writers from benefiting in the same way.

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