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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Visual Effects Artists Use MPAA's Own Words Against It 131

beltsbear sends a story about the struggles of visual effects artists against the Motion Picture Association of America. The VFX industry in the U.S. has been slowly dying because movie studios increasingly outsource the work to save money. The visual effects industry protested and fought where they could, but had little success — until the MPAA filed a seemingly innocuous legal document to the International Trade Commission two weeks ago. In it, the MPAA argues that international trade of intellectual property is just like international trade of manufactured goods, and should be afforded the same protections. This would naturally apply to visual effects work, as well. Thus: "[E]mboldened by the MPAA’s filing, the visual effects workers are now in a position to use the big studios’ own arguments to compel the government to slap trade tariffs on those studios’ own productions in high-subsidy countries. Those arguments will be especially powerful because the MPAA made them to the very same governmental agencies that will process the visual-effects workers’ case. Additionally, the workers can now take matters into their own hands. ... If visual effects workers can show the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission that an import is benefiting from foreign subsidies and therefore illegally undercutting a domestic industry, the federal government is obligated to automatically slap a punitive tax on that import. Such a tax would in practice erase the extra profit margins the studios are gleaning from the foreign subsidies, thereby leveling the competitive playing field for American workers and eliminating the purely economic incentive for the studios to engage in mass offshoring."
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Visual Effects Artists Use MPAA's Own Words Against It

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @05:30PM (#46350721)

    TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a union!

  • Re:Karma is a bitch! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @05:41PM (#46350859)

    No, I'm pretty sure karma would be the MPAA being sued into oblivion by the RIAA over distributing a movie from the 1930s that happened to have a short music clip they failed to license properly. This meanwhile is a bit of pointless protest that will, at least on the record, show just how obviously corrupt the system is that favors MPAA because of its lobbyists and will show no sign of respecting the VFX artists.

  • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @06:32PM (#46351463)

    I'm going to go ahead and call Shenanigans.

    American politics is theatre, a drama, a mummer's farce...total fiction. It has organically grown to keep people divided and warring over the insignificant, while matters of import are settled behind closed doors. I believe that many politicians get into the profession for benevolent reasons...wanting to make a positive difference...regardless of party affiliation. The nature of the game though is eat or be eaten; say what you have to say and do what you have to do to maintain your position. Of course, this is all fueled by money and power. There's really simply nothing else. We're all greedy. At this point in our development as a species, it is still more natural for us to want more than our neighbor than to make them our equal.

    DC is little more than a circling colony of vultures, and we're all lost in the desert. Evangelize your politics if you really feel the need, but to me you'll just look like someone who is kind of simple. After paying attention to how this game has been played over the last few decades, I give up. I prefer my fiction with spaceships and aliens, probably because I want off this rock.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @06:55PM (#46351709)

    Perhaps a guild, then.

    Engineers (and actors, oddly enough) typically join a guild, not a union. Unions are for unskilled laborers. Guilds are for skilled workers. The main difference is in how bargaining works.

    For unions, bargaining agreements cover everyone and provide a fixed scale based on "time served" (for lack of a better term), not on actual skill or even experience. And at a certain point, you max out and could potentially do better without the union.

    Guilds bargain for minimums and scales, but then allow individuals to build their own pay grade from there. As an apprentice, you get base pay. You can try to negotiate more, but it's unlikely. As a journeyman, you'll easily get base-plus-scale for your experience and skillset. As a master, it's up to you to demand compensation beyond that level. If you're worth it and they need it (whatever "it" is), they'll pay. Put your people skills to work and make more money. Or sit back, relax, and rake in high-experience, high-skill "scale" (which puts to shame just about anything a labor union ever bargained for).

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison