Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Hollywood Hoo-Ha, Part 2,478


What, oh what, can we say about the latest inane quote from yet another Hollywood mogul about Apple’s Steve Jobs and his hugely popular iTunes and iPod products.

The latest piece of hoo-ha comes from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner (pictured below), pointing a finger at Apple as the real villain in the ongoing strike between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood entertainment behemoths

At fault? Steve Jobs, of course!

Of course, it has been those greedy studio execs who have been shafting creators of content for decades now, by giving them a minuscule cut of revenues from DVDs and video cassettes.

Now that they are trying to do the same with income they will be getting as content moves to digital media, including the Web, cell phones and other new devices, Eisner comes out with an appalling analysis in an interview yesterday at the Media and Money conference.

Said Eisner:

“[Movie and television studios] make deals with Steve Jobs, who takes them to the cleaners. They make all these kinds of things, and who’s making money? Apple! They should get a piece of Apple. If I was a union, I’d be striking up wherever he is.”

Oh my goodness, considering how many businesses hang off the entertainment industry. Should the writers get revenues from the sales of television sets? Popcorn sold at the movies? From TV Guide? Of course not.

This comes after NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker noted in another interview recently that Apple owed him some money too for its success with the iPod.

“We don’t want to replace the dollars we were making in the analog world with pennies on the digital side,” said Zucker, who suggested entertainment companies should get a piece of the action. “Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content and made a lot of money.”

As I noted then: “That’s sort of like Britney Spears asking the tabloids to hand over a big bag of Benjamins for making such bank covering her riveting high jinks and crotch emergencies. Frankly, she has a better argument than Zucker.”

Eisner is even worse, making the score thus far: Britney 2, Hollywood 0.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work