Musicians' Union Sues Movie Studios In Business Contract Dispute

On behalf of The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai, A Professional Corporation posted in Contract Disputes on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

Music is an important part of life, society and human expression. It is also extensively used in movies to enhance a particular mood or express a certain intention of the filmmakers. On the other hand, when movie studios use music in films, they have to be aware of the publishing rights involved to avoid copyright infringement. However, it seems that one musician's union believes that several major movie studios have failed to do this and is now suing several major studios in a business contract dispute in California.

The union is alleging that several major movie studios violated an agreement formed in 2010. The defendant movie studios are Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Warner Brothers and Universal City Studios. The American Federation of Musicians labor union represents approximately 80,000 musicians in the United States and Canada. The agreement in question ranged from mid-April 2010 to early April 2015.

The contract between the union and the movie studios stipulated that the movie studios were not able to use previously licensed music in films where the musical score was not originally produced without paying a specified fee. The plaintiff labor organization alleges that all six of the defendant studios are in breach of this contract. The union also claims that the examples provided thus far by the union only show a small portion of the actual violations committed by the studios.

On the other hand the defendant movie studios in California will also have a chance to answer the allegations against them in the court of law. This is true for any company that may be facing a breach of contract dispute. However, it is important that a defendant company have full knowledge of the applicable contract and business laws in order to have the best chances of prevailing in a lawsuit.

Source:, "Musicians Take On The Big Six Hollywood Studios For Breach Of Agreement", Nomi Prins, May 29, 2015

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