Over the weekend it was announced that the writers and the producers (etc.) have come to a tentative agreement. In it, the writers will get a cut (I heard 2% on MSNBC) of future internet sales of their material. This is fantastic news for all creatives.
First, there is a number involved, a percentage, which shows that the value of the creative part does not diminish over time or use (relative to the product as a whole) but rather functions as an integral correlative part of the product. So, it’s 2% of $10 or, when the product is discounted, it’s 2% of $5, for example.
Also, that number is easily calculable. There is no muss, no negotiations, everyone knows what to expect–2%, thank you very much, come again.
Most importantly, this strike and the resulting agreement will help other creatives by serving as an example of value. The general population has had its eyes opened to how creatives make money and how their products were valued…or not as the case may have been. The average Joe and Jane, when polled, understood the issues and agreed that the writers should get paid for new media sales.
We as an industry need to capitalize on this.
Most people outside of our industry think that photographers are either the folks who shoot weddings or they are staff members of magazines or ad agencies. They think there are a few folks who work as freelancers, but most photographers, in their minds, are employees who get paid a salary and get benefits, etc. We need to get the word out to the general population that, in fact, the opposite is true. This will help them to understand why taking an image off a site is a worse theft than they know, for example. Making the connection between the writers issues and our own will help frame our struggles better, and more effectively.
So woo hoo to the writers! Let’s celebrate! And let’s use this fabulous win for one section of creatives to help more creatives survive and thrive.