"No money? No downloads. No downloads? No peace." It's not exactly WTO or an anti-war demonstration, but the emotional notes are being hit high in the Writers Guild of America strike, which started this morning. What does it have to do with us? By "us" us, as in the world of new media, plenty. The hottest of button issues in the strike is payment for online media usage. The Guild wants to know what the studios and networks are going to do about the tauntingly free environment of web-based entertainment. The New York Times has a well-rounded summary of the issues. Few of the writers seem to know how to play their picket-line status: best line was to the striker who chants "No Money, No Funny," and this scene from the Times captures it well: "Despite the gung-ho attitude, it was immediately clear that Burbank is not Detroit. When the strike captain took a break from his bullhorn, half of the picketing writers at Disney started pecking at their BlackBerries." Those of us who watch television (and we have statistics to prove that you do), should know that favorite shows dependent on writers -- "The Daily Show," "Colbert Report," David Letterman, Jay Leno, et al. -- are going into repeats immediately. Series television is in the equivalent state of a railroad train temporarily off the tracks. The Los Angeles Times has a comprehensive grid outlining how shows are affected. So while it may seem not too terribly serious to worry about the outcome of wordsmiths vs. the corporate world immediately, where are you going to turn to find a laugh or distraction in the middle of the real world's daily grind?