A lot of people are crowing about the DGA/AMPTP agreement today. Looking over the details of agreement, though, it looks like the “same old, same old” to me.
For me, New Media requires that the bulk of monies generated by creative products belongs to the creator of those products. When I see figures like sub-one percent payments I can only be reminded about how little creatives have received for their work when sold on cable networks, VHS and DVD. You would think after being squeezed out of substantial revenue when these media appeared, everyone would be very careful about the same types of deals when applied to new media. Any system that uses flat rate payments virtually guarantees that creatives will not be fairly compensated for their work.
The AMPTP keeps touting “we don’t know how successful this will be”, but one only has to look at the explosive success of DVD sales to see exactly where online distribution is headed. In fact, since the costs for online distribution are significantly lower, and the global nature of online distribution, the potential earnings could skyrocket. One only has to look at the overall success of the Internet to understand where the world is headed. In my mind, there is no doubt that online distribution will become the default method for delivering entertainment in the next 5 years. This isn’t some unproven method. Millions of people have been distributing millions of hours of entertainment over the Internet for the last 10 years.
Finally, why are the DGA accepting fractions of a penny for their work when, if they produced their own material, and distributed it online, they could retain the bulk of any monies, as well as control, over their own work. Just what are the producers providing these days that justifies the huge percentage of profits they take?
The entertainment world is changing and the current DGAagreement shows no effort to understand that fact. It is more of the same. As the old adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” What does it mean when guild members accept being “fooled” a millions times over?