To see how valuable our creations are, you simply have to look at the Disney Corporation’s recent fight to maintain its copyright of Mickey Mouse. In 1998 Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act, also know as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” It extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. The loss of Mickey Mouse would have cost Disney billions of dollars, and they used every tool in their political and financial arsenal to get the Extension Act passed. The corporations we are negotiating with understand only too well the full value of the scripts we write. This is why they are fighting so hard to keep the writers guild from gaining jurisdiction over material written for the Internet.
They can see the day when the television set and the DVD disappear. When first-run movies are released for purchase online the same day they premiere in theaters. On this day, all media will effectively be transmitted to your home by computer. There will be no such thing as a screenwriter or a television writer. We will all be Internet writers. And once that happens these media conglomerates will become, in a very real sense, the sole author and owner of our work, entitled to 100 percent of the revenues they generate.