Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) stands solidly in support of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike in seeking appropriate compensation for writers when their work is distributed digitally, either in DVD form or through Internet downloads.
Contrary to prevailing wisdom, the future is not here yet. As science fiction writers, we’re perhaps in a better position to see that than others. Society is in a transitional phase, as physical entertainment media slowly give way to their digital equivalents. Physical distribution, cumbersome and expensive, is going the way of the buggy whip and rotary phone dial. The change has already started with the distribution of films and TV shows.
During this phase, writers and other creators are having their work distributed digitally without seeing any benefit at all. The excuse given is that this distribution is for promotional purposes only, but, in fact, the powers that be are using this transitional period to establish unfair precedents. It’s the camel’s nose. These precedents will hurt creators as digital distribution becomes the predominant method of distributing and accessing content. It’s as if book publishers of the early twentieth century had told authors that movies would be made out of their books, but they shouldn’t get any money because the movies wouldn’t be profitable and were being made just to promote the sale of books.
SFWA believes that writers should be paid a fair amount for each DVD and for each download of their work. If the work is used on the Internet in any way, the writer should be fairly compensated. This is a fundamental writers’ right, and it’s worth fighting for. WGA is staking its claim on the future, and SFWA supports it wholeheartedly.
Lots of folks support the WGA, but I’m starting to see some anti-WGA backlash.
Do you support the WGA? Do you care?
(Be sure to vote on this topic in this week’s poll, accessed from the SF Signal main page.)