Thursday, November 8, 2007

And the Strike Goes On

There's a great new piece on You Tube explaining what the money issue in the WGA strike is all about called "Why We Fight." Check it out here. "Why We Fight" was the title of the Frank Capra series of propaganda films he directed during WWII to raise morale about that war, and I'm sure the irony was not lost on anyone else who saw the video. I'm a big fan of Capra films, but the writer for many of the most famous was Robert Riskin (Fay Wray's husband.) The story is that Riskin became so fed up with the famous "Capra touch" that one day he took a sheaf of blank paper and shoved it in Capra's face saying "put the *%&!ing Capra touch on that!." The WGA has an award named in honor of Robert Riskin. Capra, I think, may be the basis for the possessory credit dispute between the WGA and DGA members. In addition to "Why We Fight" there are more videos about the strike here.

I watched my friend Patric Verrone on TV this morning make an excellent presentation on the KTLA morning show as I got ready for work. I've known Patric since I passed the bar and succeeded him has chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers' Artist and the Law Committee and he invited me to publish my article on comic books and the law in the Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine entertainment law issue. I even wound up on the cover, which stunned me because I was only a few years out of law school then. Here's what the LACBA has on its website:

April 1996 Issue

Cover photo: Tom Keller
Featured Article:
In the Line of Fire

by Edwin F. McPherson

A tortious interference claim may be the answer when a star client is snared away.

Plus Earn MCLE Credit Online: MCLE Test No. 39, sponsored by Lexis®-Nexis®.

Cover Story:
Christine Valada, cochair of the Association Barristers Artists and the Law Committee, represents writers and artists in entertainment and copyright law matters. Her article, "Truth, Justice and the American Way," examines the past and future of the rights to comic-book characters.

Patric and I both have a long-standing commitment to creators' rights. I'm glad he's in a position to do something about it. I think that the producers have made a big mistake underestimating the way writers are connected by the Internet. In the old days of 1988, it might have been more of a divide and conquer world, where people acted out of fear because of a lack of knowledge. Now, everyone has easy access to what is going on and an ability to sort out the facts from the fictions the AMPTP may try to spread. It's pretty funny to listen to the arrogance of Michael Eisner telling calling the strike "stupid." I'd say a number of things Michael Eisner did while CEO of Disney were pretty stupid and the shareholder cost of any one of them would pay for what the WGA is asking for many times over.

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