Animation and visual effects workers have reached a $100 million settlement with Walt Disney Company, Pixar, and Lucasfilm resulting from a class action lawsuit claiming the defendants violated antitrust laws by conspiring to set animation wages via non-poaching agreements. The workers content the agreements go back to the mid-1990s when George Lucas and then Pixar President Ed Catmull agreed to not raid each other’s employees. Other companies joined the conspiracy later, creating agreements on cold calling and notifying each other when making an offer to someone in the other company.
In the upcoming five-year review of the Canadian Copyright Act, certainly one of the hot topics under scrutiny will be Internet service provider (ISP) liability. At the start of 2015, a new Canadian law came into effect called the “Notice and Notice” regime. It requires that all ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to customers suspected of downloading unauthorized content like movies, TV shows, and music.
The purpose of the notice system is to discourage piracy. Some jurisdictions, including the US, as per its Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), employ the “Notice and Takedown” regime, whereby the infringing party is notified of the violation, but if infringement continues, the site is taken down.
by Jay Blumenthal, AFM Director Symphonic Services Division
Union members must have the ability to speak freely in union meetings without the fear of reprisals. Since a management presence could have a “chilling effect” on open and frank discussions and the employees’ engagement in union activities, managerial supervisors are excluded from our union meetings. This is a principle well-settled in federal labor law. Recently, a challenge to this tenet arose from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society (Society).
A musician in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) who also serves as senior director of artistic planning expected that he would have unfettered access to orchestra/union meetings. As senior director of artistic planning the musician makes artistic decisions that affect the employment of other musicians in the orchestra and is therefore a supervisory employee. Because of this, some musicians and the union believed his attendance at orchestra/union meetings would naturally inhibit the other members’ union activity and speech. Although some musicians were unconcerned about his attendance at meetings, it was important for the union to take steps to protect the rights of all members to freely participate in union activities.
Consequently, an unfair labor practice charge (ULP) was filed by the AFM against the Society. Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board found merit in the charge and issued a complaint. Just days prior to a scheduled hearing before an administrative law judge, the Society and the AFM reached a settlement agreement. Pursuant to the agreement’s terms, the Society’s senior director of artistic planning is generally prohibited from attending orchestra/union meetings of the SPCO musicians. The union has the discretion—but no obligation—to allow this dual-status employee to attend portions of meetings during which no collective bargaining, contract administration, or similar sensitive issues will be discussed. The AFM is pleased with this resolution that protects the SPCO musicians’ right to engage in union activities without fear of adverse consequences to their employment.