Recording Musicians Federal Lawsuit Targets Work Dues From 13 AFM Contracts

By • May 19, 2008

US Federal Court documents recently filed indicate that the Los Angeles recording musicians are targeting work dues from at least 13 types of AFM contracts in their suit against the AFM, and that Los Angeles AFM Local 47 has agreed to stop sending the AFM’s share of these work dues to the AFM until the case is decided next year.

The federal lawsuit, filed by LA recording musicians David Parmeter, Anatoly Rosinsky and Andrew Shulman, alleges on behalf of themselves and all “similarly situated” members of the AFM that Los Angeles Local 47 “may not lawfully remit” to the AFM its share of work dues from “AFM Promulgated Agreements” which refer to agreements created by the AFM but not ratified by the membership. The attorneys for the recording musicians said they intend to expand the lawsuit to a class action suit on behalf of all AFM musicians who have worked under these agreements.

The AFM contracts targeted by the recording musicians include: video game agreements options 1 and 2; video game agreements prior to November, 2006 and continuing with special letters of agreement; basic cable agreements; telethon agreements; syndicated radio (non-symphonic) agreements; cruise ship agreements; industrial films agreements; basic television film agreements (independent producers); basic theatrical motion picture agreements (independent producers); non-standard television agreements (pay-TV); film festival agreements; and parades, spectaculars and theme park agreements.

The court order, agreed to by Local 47 and the AFM, states that beginning May 1 the AFM’s share of work dues from Local 47 for work done under these contracts will be withheld from the AFM by Local 47 until the lawsuit goes to trial in February, 2009.

Los Angeles AFM Local 47 has filed claims against the recording musicians and against the AFM, stating it has “no stake in and is disinterested in that portion of the Federation work dues” being targeted by the recording musicians.

Veteran Local 47 member and Emmy-nominated composer Charles Fernandez said, “This small group of people is trying to damage an organization that serves the interests of over 80,000 musicians across the country. I frankly find it hard to believe that rank and file recording musicians understand the scope of the financial attack that a small radical fringe of recording musicians, perhaps a couple of dozen people, is waging on the AFM.”

It is unclear how the loss of these work dues until the suit is decided will affect the AFM.

Blogs dealing with AFM issues including Sounds, The AFM Observer, and The AFM in Trouble have seen a significant increase in traffic and comments in recent weeks since the lawsuit was first widely publicized.

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