My friend Jack Bernstein directed me to an excellent article by a former corporate attorney-turned-writer that’s full of insights into the AMPTP’s negotiating strategy.
Regardless of what camp you fall in, everyone is grasping for an
explanation of why the studios are acting the way they are. That’s
because with the exception of a few carefully prepared press releases,
a trade ad or two, and some supposed “leaked” stories, we haven’t heard
directly from any of the CEOs about the strike. We’ve only heard from
Nick Counter – their point man. Their lawyer.
I’m here to tell
you, as a former litigator who spent several years at one of the
biggest corporate law firms in the world, that we’re all in engaged in
a huge lawyering game, and things are proceeding accordingly.
8 thoughts on “How they think”
Depressingly, his analysis of corporate litigator tactics is spot on.
The nihilist perceptions of these corporate lawyers are actually their deepest weakness. What may seem a victory to them can actually wreck a corporation if the “victory” breeds bitterness, trouble, and division in the future. In the end, it is not their nihilistic maneuvering that will protect a company. It is their respect of the values they mock, including economic fairness. Nick Counter may seem a hotshot now; the near future may prove him a disaster to his employers. This is a serious strike, grounded on deeply felt and perceived grievances, and any lawyer who will not grasp that reality is the weaker one and the one most likely to do the most damage.
Richard, a lot of it is client driven. Clients come in demanding a “shark,” a “bulldog”, “someone who’ll fight tooth and nail.” (I think that, ironically, they want this because it’s what a lot of them see on TV) Try to steer them towards a mediated or settled solution and far too many will take their business elsewhere. It’s probably the biggest reason I’m trying to get out of the law biz. It’s changed a lot even since I started.
I guess this is a stupid question, but are some of the writers really under the impression that they’re dealing with people interested in fairness?
Some major advertisers are going to have to trump those lawyers with some bankers. Money talks…
One of the things I’ve been wondering:
If the producers say there’s no money being made on Internet downloads, then why not give it all away? I mean, 2% of 0 is the same as 50%, right?
As a somewhat interested bystander, what’s most frustrating to me is the lack of talks at all.
Richard – my other question is why not just take the internet episodes off period. The only people who can access them are Americans, at least on the CBS site, which means they can still watch the show on television. (And let’s not kid ourselves, it’s more comfortable watching on a couch in front of a TV than in front of your computer any day!) We’ve lasted this long without internet episodes and it hasn’t killed us. Do we really need them?
Anything that will help get this settled.
Lee: the producers have the same mindset as the RIAA and DRM … same parallel universe where the weather is never the same as it is for us.