Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lights! Camera! Actionscript!

Today, online content took center stage as the Screen Actors Guild held a rally to protest the labor agreement negotiated by rival thespian union AFTRA. Although AFTRA assures their membership that their electronic media agreements "have you covered," SAG argues that AFTRA is too willing to tapdance to the tune of producers when it comes to Internet-based entertainment. From the perspective of media theory, it is interesting also to note that SAG's page on New Media Contracts reminds their constituency that they are "screen" actors, no matter how the technologies of that "screen" evolve.

Unlike the Writers Guild, SAG's legislative agenda with the FCC doesn't explicitly include the issue of network neutrality, although -- like the WGA -- they do take stands against monopolistic practices in media consolidation and product integration. In contrast, WGA President and Virtualpolitik pal Patric Verrone has been busy championing the principle that networks should continue to be free of onerous restrictions that might inhibit access to websites or platforms that refuse to pay for inclusion in ISP "tiered services." In other words, without network neutrality, broadband companies and their corporate partners could effectively create toll roads on the information superhighway.

In this interview with C-SPAN Verrone points to the irony of having Hollywood's content-creators play an active role in congressional hearings a half-century after their disastrous experience in the HUAC witchhunts. Since having attended to more obvious forms of fairness to content-creators with monetary compensation, Verrone argues that the "logical next step" for the WGA involves scrutiny of how control by content-distributors may be capable of "limiting that distribution" or "discriminating in terms of the speed or the bandwidth." Verrone also appears in this long Filmnut episode that discusses network neutrality, where he also uses the "pipe" metaphor that was taken literally by Senator Ted Stevens.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home