THE BLOG
11/09/2007 12:47 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Writers' Strike Diary: Day Five

It's Friday, formerly working writers. Have your scripts been validated?

This from a lawyer familiar with the situation:

"The WGA has got it all wrong with its script submission program. For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, the WGA has demanded that its members turn in all unfinished scripts so the guild can verify that no members are cheating by writing during the strike. The studios responded by sending notices to writers advising them (correctly, I think) that the scripts are studio property and any unauthorized dissemination of them is a breach of the writers' contracts. Now, the WGA has issued a new notice to its members, asserting (without legal authority) that the studios are wrong and that their warning letters constitute an infringement on the writers' right to collectively bargain, thus urging writers to disregard the studios' clear notice that the writers will be breaching their contracts. Aside from the obvious offensiveness of the WGA not trusting its own members, I think they're dead wrong on the law. The studios paid for and own these scripts. They can therefore dictate what is or is not done with them (it's their property, after all). The WGA's insistence that writers disregard the studios' warnings essentially seeks to induce the writers to breach their contracts (which would give rise to a legal claim by the studios against the guild). The bottom line is this: Shame on the WGA for not trusting its members and for putting them in the position of having to make the determination of whether to breach their contracts or violate an ill-conceived strike rule. No writer should be forced to make that choice. If the WGA disagrees with the studios' clearly valid position, it should resolve that issue with the studios and then instruct the writers as to what they should or shouldn't do. To do otherwise is irresponsible and jeopardizes many writers' livelihoods in the name of a policy that even WGA general counsel Tony Segall admitted would be difficult to enforce. With so little bang for the buck and much bigger fish to fry (like negotiating a new contract - is anyone talking at this point?), the WGA should knock it off and stop doing a disservice to its members."

Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.