Have you been thinking that our union has seemed to be on a “legal rampage” lately? Maybe that’s because we recently filed three different lawsuits against major Hollywood studios in less than two months.
These studios have violated our contracts either by recording scores outside the United States or Canada or reusing soundtrack clips without appropriately compensating musicians.
When we addressed the inappropriate reuse of clips during contract negotiations, one company representative said, “Just sue us.”
Resolving contract violations through grievance meetings or neutral arbitrators makes sense. No one wants to go to court. Musicians working under AFM Jingle and Broadway Touring contracts for example file grievances—not lawsuits—when there are contract violations. But our film contract lacks a grievance and arbitration process.
So we are going to court as one of the many ways we fight to uphold industry standards.
Musicians standing together have the power.
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Some film studios have apparently been re-using our own performances to replace us, in violation of our collective bargaining agreements. That means fewer jobs, fewer hours of employment on jobs, fewer new use payments and fewer health care and pension contributions. Piracy harms all of us. As a result, the American Federation of Musicians is now taking legal action in order to protect our livelihoods.
Variety: AFM Accuses Movie Studios of Bilking Musicians on Reused Music
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has accused the six major studios of reusing film soundtrack clips without compensating musicians — including music from “Beauty and the Beast” and “Titanic.” read more here..
Hollywood Studios Sued for Recycling Film Soundtracks Too Much
A new lawsuit from the American Federation of Musicians counts dozens of examples, from ‘Bridesmaids’ to ‘Argo,’ where music wasn’t totally original. read more here..
AFM official announcement here
Read the lawsuit here
LAANE, the LA Alliance for a New Economy, has produced a groundbreaking, comprehensive study, authored by Jon Zerolnick, titled “Keeping the Score: the impact of recapturing North American film and television sound recording work”. While the report focuses on Southern California, it presents a powerful model for approaching employment of musicians in the entertainment industry throughout North America.
This report concludes that by increasingly offshoring recording work, Hollywood studios and production companies are saving relatively small amounts of money. These savings, however, have disproportionate costs for musicians, taxpayers, and the broader economy. Hollywood can easily afford to meet the top employment standards for musicians, thereby not only providing ample quality employment, but strengthening domestic economies.
Read the Full Report.
Read the Executive Summary.