Ron Moore walks the picket line

Battlestar Galactica’s head honcho is walking the picket line, too. He tells an anecdote:

“I had a situation last year on Battlestar Galactica where we were asked by Universal to do webisodes [Note: Moore is referring to The Resistance webisodes which ran before Season 3 premiered], which at that point were very new and ‘Oooh, webisodes! What does that mean?’ It was all very new stuff. And it was very eye opening, because the studio’s position was ‘Oh, we’re not going to pay anybody to do this. You have to do this, because you work on the show. And we’re not going to pay you to write it. We’re not going to pay the director, and we’re not going to pay the actors.’ At which point we said ‘No thanks, we won’t do it.'”
Moore, like most of his fellow writers, was extremely bothered by the studios attempting to designate content shown on the web as “promotional,” even when that content has sponsors and advertisers. “Their position continues to be that this is ‘promotional.’ That they can have it promotional material, free of charge and they can make you do the work and they don’t have to compensate you for it and they don’t have to credit you for it. It’s undercutting everything that the writers have built up in other media. The notion that just because it’s on your computer as opposed to your television set is absurd. It’s an absurd position for them to take, but, you know, if they can pull it off, they’re at the moment of a watershed change of how your media is delivered to you. Your television and your computer are going to become the same device within the foreseeable future. That reality is staring us in the face.”

Also worth mentioning is Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski’s explanation of what is at stake, and this anecdote about “profits” which is really quite eye-opening:

I have a share of the net profits of B5. But by the terms of the deal that was made, WB takes 60% of all monies in overhead, and can charge almost anything they want against profits. If a stage used on some other WB project being shot in Bolivia burns down, they can charge it against B5. Consequently, B5 has never shown a profit even though it’s made half a billion dollars just in DVD sales, leaving out foreign sales, syndication, merchandising and so on.