Screen Actors Guild members Will Lyman and Mark Carlton both commented here on my blog (see 9/16 entry below) on the recently concluded commercials contract negotiations that led to the infamously intemperate email from Guild President Alan Rosenberg to former Guild officer and contract ratification opponenet, Laird Stuart. I think their contributions help frame the issues as stake in the new era. This is an important discussion that those concerned about the future of labor in EMI and beyond should pay close attention to.
Predictably, the New York Times suggests in this article that collaboration with the auto employers is the only way out for the once powerful United Auto Workers. Not once is there any mention of the need for an alternative industrial policy for America. Nowhere do they mention the possibility of the union movement leading a political movement to reorganize the American economy to increase productive employment, finance health care for all and help end the race to the bottom triggered by post Cold War globalization. If the labor movement accepts the Times approach then it truly is lights our for the American labor movement.
The U.S. House of Representatives will hold hearings next week on HPGate. Tune in at 7 AM California time to hear CEO Mark Hurd try to defend his action and inaction.
I was asked by the Wall Street Journal to “blog” the announcement by CEO Mark Hurd today about the spy scandal that just won’t go away. Here is the concluding comment I sent:
Today was an effort to sacrifice the queen in order to save the king. But nothing suggests that HP is Bobby Fischer or Gary Kasparov. It has been bungled from the beginning and goes back to the amateurish behavior of Keyworth and Perkins who used leaks for their own political purposes. In my view, Hurd will end up out of HP within a few months as the lawyers, prosecutors and politicians descend on the company. This is a sad day for Silicon Valley.
Meanwhile, my engineer father reminds me that the real HP, the HP of garage startup fame, is really not this HP – it is Agilent, the instrument company spun off by HP a few years back. No such scandal seems to have engulfed that entity located just down the road from HP’s headquarters in Palo Alto. Thank god for small miracles – maybe there is hope for the Valley after all.
The potential for “synergy” between Silicon Valley and Hollywood continues to grow – Disney’s Bob Iger certainly is happy about it as his recent remarks to an investment banking conference suggest. Apple’s new iTV strategy suggests the possibility of rescuing television from its doldrums by squeezing a revenue stream from the new digitial video recorder technology that more and more consumers (me, too!) can no longer live without. This prospect makes the Disney CEO positively “giddy” with delight.
Sadly, the scandal at HP continues to deepen. With documents now emerging in anticipation of the House hearings next week, it appears that HP Chairman Dunn and the CEO Mark Hurd had a direct role in approving a sting operation against an outside reporter. Clearly more change is needed at the company – so where are the institutional investors that own nearly 80% of the company’s stock?
Could the scandal at HP reach the CEO? The LA Times interviewed me about this issue for today’s paper.
In light of the debate among actors about whether collective bargaining is feasible in the world of new media, it is enlightening to consider the kinds of deals already being inked between production companies and digital distribution companies.
Some representatives of the employers in EMI, like Nick Counter at the AMPTP argues digital technology is “so new” and “so unknown that it would be…a mistake to try to work out a formula at this point.” AMPTP’s Counter tackles virtual future.
Even some in the labor unions that represent EMI workers echo this argument as became clear rather abruptly at the Screen Actors Guild last week. (See my post below.)
Why is it so difficult to engage in collective bargaining over these new revenue streams? Apparently YouTube has no problem figuring out how to reward Warners Music Group for content as indicated in this joint announcement by the two companies today.
HP Board Chairman Pat Dunn was ousted today but the debate about the “pretexting” investigation of board members continues. Today’s WSJ Law Blog featured a comment by me and Professor Rhode of Stanford to kick off a debate about the role of the HP general counsel in the controversial events at the company.
The merger of Silicon Valley and Hollywood continued to accelerate this week. First there was the widely covered announcement by Apple of a new iPod with higher resolution capable of playing back movies. And those movies will be available on the same day of DVD release – yet another sign of the window compression underway in the entertainment industry. Why rent from Netflix or buy from Amazon when you can download the same film with a few clicks on the computer?
And linked here is a story about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation on the hunt again for high tech companies that advance the digital revolution. News Corp is taking a controlling interest in Jamba, a mobile entertainment company now owned by VeriSign.