As you may have heard, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has just started a strike over payments.

Specifically, it’s about residuals – the money paid to the writers when DVDs of their work are sold, and for when episodes of TV shows are streamed over the internet (a growth area, it’s generally predicted, with packages like BT Vision looking the shape of things to come).

At present, the residuals on DVDs are at a rate which was negotiated some years ago (1985, I think), before the format became what it is now (that is, very successful, and a great way for studios to increase the back-end on TV shows in the absence of syndication), and of course online supply cuts out DVD production and distribution costs, so the payback to the creatives (of all stripes) should logically be higher… but currently it isn’t going to be higher, hence the strike.

If nothing else, if you take a look at this ad which appeared in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter last week, you’ll probably be able to spot at least one writer or showrunner from a high-profile show you like, which gives an indication of how strong the feeling is on this issue.