Writers Ding Viacom Over Google Lawsuit

    November 16, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Even though Hollywood executives claim this Internet thing is too new for them to figure out how much they can cut out of it for writers, the scribes pointed out Viacom seems to have an idea.

The ongoing strike by the Writer’s Guild of America has brought production of TV shows and movies to a standstill. At issue: the writer’s want a fairer slice of the revenue brought in by DVD sales and Internet content delivery.

Writers have been rebuffed in their negotiations. Michael Eisner has claimed it’s too soon to demand revenue from an unproven business model.

“For a writer to give up today’s money for a nonexistent piece of the future — they should do it in three years, shouldn’t be doing it now — they are misguided they should not have gone on the strike. I’ve seen stupid strikes, I’ve seen less stupid strikes, and this strike is just a stupid strike,” chided the former Disney honcho.

However, as Boing Boing noted in a post by Cory Doctorow, Viacom patriarch Sumner Redstone has a pretty good idea. A video of Daily Show writer Jason Rothman pointing out Viacom’s billion-dollar lawsuit against Google for alleged copyright infringement on YouTube painted Redstone as a hypocrite on the issue.

The video also zinged Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman over a statement he made this summer: “Viacom will exceed $500 million in digital revenue this year.” Web media is part of that revenue projection.

Either digital content has an identified value, or it does not. Viacom, at least, thinks both conditions can be true. The writers disagree.

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