2/28/2011

Labor relations in Hollywood

Jonathan Handel has just published a new book about labor relations in Hollywood. In Hollywood on Strike!: An Industry at War in the Internet Age, Handel takes a close look at the WGA strike and SAG negotiations of 2007-2009, both of which swirled around the issue of compensation for Internet uses of movies and television programs. The book's description:
It was a Hollywood meltdown. . . The Writers Guild went on strike in 2007. The big issue: fees for programs released on new media such as the Internet. The strike was settled one hundred turbulent days later – but then the Screen Actors Guild spiraled out of control, unwilling to accept the same terms but unable to muster a second strike. As the national economy collapsed, idled writers and actors sacrificed millions of dollars in film and TV wages in order to pursue pennies in new media. All told, the turmoil lasted about two years. But why? Analyzing events as they unfolded, Los Angeles entertainment attorney and journalist Jonathan Handel lays bare the contracts, economics and politics swirling behind the paradox of Hollywood labor relations. Handel is a uniquely qualified guide: a former associate counsel at the Writers Guild, his law practice at TroyGould focuses on new media and entertainment. He was described as "one of the most-quoted sources on the strike," and recently taught a course on entertainment unions and guilds as an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law. Handel covers entertainment labor as a Contributing Editor for The Hollywood Reporter and his writing also appears on Forbes.com and the Huffington Post. As a commentator, Handel has appeared in the media hundreds of times. The 2007-2009 contracts, so hard fought, brought scant months of labor peace: renegotiations began in 2010, and recur every three years. That makes this book essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Hollywood in the digital age.