Month: February 2017

Actors’ ages can be posted online, court says

Is it proper to ask thespians their age? It is, a federal judge in San Francisco says. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria recently ruled on a request for an injunction against it that a California law, which prevents the film and television information website IMDB from posting actor’s real ages, is out of bounds and cannot be enforced. While the law’s aim was to prevent age and gender discrimination in casting, the judge held that the law likely abridges expression of non-commercial free speech, writing,  “it’s difficult to imagine how AB 1687 [the law] could not violate the First Amendment.”...

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Animators to draw $170 million from studios

Disney, its subsidiaries join major studios in big settlement over visual talents’ claims of anti-competitive personnel practices Animators, digital artists, and visual effects specialists for industry-leading companies like Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Dream Works soon may be walking around with more money jangling in their pocket after the settlement of a sizable class action suit involving these movie-making talents. That’s because Walt Disney Co.—including its subsidiaries Pixar, and Lucas Films— this month became the last major players to agree to a deal to resolve legal claims, with zero admission of wrongdoing, that they had a “no poach” agreement among themselves over hiring the animators and others, including sharing pay information on them. The workers had asserted these all were antitrust violations that reduced competition in the market  and kept down salaries. Disney and its subsidiaries agreed to settle the claims for $100 million. DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation and 20th Century Fox’s Blue Sky Studios had settled with the animators earlier for roughly $70 million, sending the combined tab for Hollywood to draw to a close this labor action to nearly $170 million. The claims The creatives accused Disney, Pixar, and Lucas Films of conspiring to fixing wages of animators and other workers by  making “non-solicitation” agreements with each other. Earlier this year, the animators, while pushing for class-certification in their lawsuit, told the court that...

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New chair zaps FCC changes on set-top boxes

Out with the old, in with the new: Ajit Pai, President Trump’s new chair of the Federal Communications Commission, has reversed course,  revoking reports and investigations launched under previous leaders. Pai has criticized his predecessors’ “midnight regulations,” saying there were issued with little notice and discussion. But critics were quick to point out his revocations occurred in much the same way.  Ignoring the politics, some of what Pai swept away will affect entertainment content, specifically access issues involving set-top boxes that consumers must rent—at much-criticized costs of hundreds of dollars annually—to get cable and satellite programs. The Obama Administration...

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Sir Paul’s rights claims: music industry temblor

In artists’ battles to terminate, recover copyrights, $750-million Beatles catalog’s a legal behemoth It’s a provision of copyright law that has proved advantageous for many—but not for Duran Duran. Now Paul McCartney, a titan of the music industry, has sent tremors through the business by asserting he soon will try it with his iconic tunes, which are worth tens of millions of dollars. The music industry has braced for some time over what will happen with musicians’ termination notices and the subsequent recaptures of their compositions as permitted under the law. Some songwriters – who say they too were...

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A King of Comedy clobbers an old claim

Steve Harvey, the original king of comedy himself, will get the last laugh in his long dispute with Joe Cooper, a  videographer. A federal court in Dallas has tossed Cooper’s lawsuit, seeking $50 million, and asserting that Harvey had breached a contract with him for recording 120 or so hours worth of the comedian’s stand-up routines at Harvey’s Dallas club back in 1993. It turns out that the joke two decades later is on Cooper, as jurors, after just hours of deliberation, found that he and Harvey had not entered into a valid contract. Instead, Harvey’s counterclaim that Cooper...

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