More on the WGA strike

Derek Powazek has written about the Writer’s Guild of America strike: Luddites on the Picket Lines? He’s right – the writers need to demonstrate that they understand the internet a lot better than they have so far.

But before you start talking about the internet, read up. Internet distribution is not the same as TV or DVD. A DVD buyer is someone who then owns a shiny plastic disc with stuff on it. Codifying a viewer online is a lot trickier. If I watch half a show on NBC.com, do you get half a royalty? What if I only watched 12 minutes, while the browser was in the background, while I was also chatting and texting and doing whatever it is the kids do nowadays?

There is a distinction between, say, a paid download from iTunes and a YouTube viewing, and if the writers want a percentage of the latter, well, they’re going to be waiting a long time.

A techie on the writer’s strike

Marc Andreessen has written an interesting post about the Hollywood writer’s strike: Suicide by strike. The title’s a bit misleading though – his main questions are about the bosses, not the workers.

You’re faced with a massive, once-in-a-lifetime shift in mainstream consumer behavior from traditional mass media, including film and television, to new activities that you do not control. [...]
Is this really the right time to pick a fight with the writers over royalties from DVD and Internet sales, leading to an industry-wide shutdown and massive economic pain for all sides in the world of traditional scripted film and television content?

Salvador Dali

on YouTube from What’s My Line in the 50s. The ongoing whispered negotiations between Dali and the host are very funny.

News from Derek Powazek:

The Real Story of JPG Magazine. Derek has left the company he created after they tried to rewrite history by changing it’s origins story – including removing all references to Heather’s crucial involvement in the founding of the magazine. What a crappy story.

Update: the remaining founder of 8020 Publishing has posted about the departure, though his post is more notable for what wasn’t written than what was.

Since last year

when we learned that Leonard Cohen had been fleeced by some people who have worked for him for a long time, he has slowly but surely started to raise his profile once again. Knowing the circumstances, I haven’t heard anyone begrudge Cohen this sortie to make money, which is refreshing. Claire Crighton in Maisonneuve magazine makes a very good point in her article about Cohen, “Canadian Idol,” when she suggests that he should really be considered as a writer and poet more than as a songwriter or singer.

Also in the Star:

Cory Doctorow’s op-ed from Saturday: Trademark political shenanigans. On Copyright law, corporate political funding, and artist-unfriendly DRM.

Michael Geist has posted

a preliminary analysis and summary of Canada’s proposed copyright bill, aka Bill C-60. Geist writes, “There is simply no denying that the lobbying efforts of the copyright owners, particularly the music industry, have paid off as they are the big winners in this bill. The bill focuses almost exclusively on creating new rights for this select group…” This is definitely a file to follow in the weeks and months ahead.

Later…Geist has followed up with a Bill C-60 Users Guide that goes through it point by point. Good reading.

Zeke has some words

today about the installation of Maman by Louise Bourgeois at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Today’s post is a followup on his post on Wednesday, which correctly called into question the competence of bureaucrats who issued a press release on the installation of such a work after Mother’s Day – among other things.

Competency questions aside, I can’t wait to see the new sculpture. I lived about a block away from the Gallery for almost 4 years in the early 90s and the space that Maman will occupy has always screamed out for a major, large-scale installation. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to see it soon, as our new house is just 1 km away from the Gallery.

Icon Magazine:

21 most influential things and people influencing design today.

Typographica:

Our Favorite Fonts of 2004. The comment about Auto: “The following confessions were found in an unnamed schoolgirl’s diary: -I think I want Auto 3 Italic to be my boyfriend. -Where in the rule books does it say that counters must be closed? Set them free, Auto 3! -I dreamt again of Auto, but this time its three brilliant and handsome creators were there. We all snuggled with a giant, furry swash ‘A’.”