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World’s First Union-Made iPhone App

WGA strikeDigital content is the new frontier for unions.  Entertainment writers were tasked with creating and producing digital content (web content, digital shorts, etc.) without pay before the WGA Strike that started in 2007.  Writers weren’t paid for their work while corporations made money off that content. Well, now the WGA is out in front for a new kind of digital content: iPhone applications.

On Tuesday WGA East announced the first union-made iPhone app.  The creators of an app called iLarious joined the Writers Guild and are now eligible for the union’s health insurance and other benefits.

The writers of iLarious have just become the first writers of content for an iPhone app to be represented by a labor union, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Under this agreement writers for apps such as “This Just In” (which delivers 10-15 jokes a day to the iPhone) will get to count their jokes written for the app towards WGAE health insurance and other benefits. Comedy writers covered by this new agreement hail from “The Daily Show”, “The Onion”, “Human Giant” and “Saturday Night Live” among other famous comedy programs.

iLarious went union because company founder and comedy writer Fred Graver is himself a member of the WGAE and knows how important union representation is to writers.

WGA’s leadership also acknowledges this important step forward for digitial media creators in order to lay claim to this ground.

“Whatever the technology, writers will always benefit from membership in a creative community which is organized to advance their interests,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson.  “The job standards enjoyed by writers in film and broadcast TV were built over the years by creative people working together. Signing on with the WGAE is a very important step for creators of digital media to gain the standing and strength they deserve.”

Congratulations to WGA East for this big advancement.  Tip ‘o the hat to Nancy Scola at TechPresident for the catchPhoto via mynewyearofnewthings on Flickr.

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