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WGA Writers Strike Information

Nov 28, 2007
On November 5th, 2007 the entertainment industry, and industry which is known to always have something in development, came to a near stand still when The Writer's Guild of America East and the Writer,s Guild of America West went on strike.

While there are always multiple reasons for strikes, the specific cause of this strike was over royalties from DVD sales, union jurisdiction over animated and reality programs, and what is considered by some the most important: new media (such as the internet).

In the entertainment industry, every three years the Writer's Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers negotiate a new contract, of which its members are employed. The contract they discuss is known as the MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement).

In the 2007 negotiations of the MBA, an impasse was reached in which the Writer's Guild of America members voted to give authorization to its board to call a strike should they deem it necessary. The announcement of the possibility of a strike rang out through the entertainment industry as television news programs gave news of the serious implications involved and late night talk shows made jokes about how their own writing wouldn't get any worse.

Then, on the Monday following the negotiations of the Minimum Basic Agreement, the strike commenced with many broadcasting companies, with no other alternatives, to shut down production on all shows which needed writers who were presently on strike.

The writers claim that the residual profits from DVD sales and new media profits are insufficient to make up for the amount of money needed during the time of unemployment that many writers find themselves having to deal with.

The proposed revision of the system of DVD sales, which dictates that the writer receives four cents for every DVD sold, would have the system changed to where for every DVD sale the writer would receive eight cents for each sale.

However, on November 4, the day before the strike, the DVD proposal was taken off of the table. This, however, disappointed and even angered Writer's Guild of America president Patric Verrone, who is perhaps best known as a writer on the Matt Groening animated program Futurama.

While the strike has caused the shut down of many programs, such as Bionic Woman, Heroes, late night talk shows, and shows of that nature, there is a ray of hope for the industry. Negotiations are expected to recommence on November 26th.
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