UPDATED 17:45: The Writers Guild has made a statement in response to ATA's letter to members. Read it at the end of this post.
PREVIOUSLY, 15:22: The Association of Talent Agents today said that it "evaluates all legal options" to address the WGA's claim that it has the right to be Deputy Writers and Personal Managers for the Agents that have fired them this week who refuse to sign the Guild's new Agency Code of Conduct. The ATA has long said that state law explicitly provides that only authorized agents – not lawyers and managers – can get a position for writers.
On Tuesday, the day before the WGA sued the Big Four agencies for packing fees, WGA West President David A. Goodman told his members that it would continue to encourage its members to allow their managers and lawyers to hiring receive from them, and that the guild registers, if it comes to litigation.
Private Online Forum Offers Safe Place for Writers in the Midst of WGA ATA Battle
ATA Executive Director Karen Stuart described the WGA's position as "shocking and disturbing."
"The laws in question were promulgated decades ago and have historically served as important protectors for artists who demand that those they represent meet minimum requirements and submit to government regulation," she told affiliates today. "That the WGA leadership would now seek to deny this protection to its own members, and literally pay third parties to violate a law that has protected writers for 80 years, should appeal to those who believe unions are in the interest Acting in the US, their members are very worried.
"We are considering all legal options to address this unlawful behavior. We invite you, as far as you are aware of managers and attorneys, to agree to the WGA's request to obtain and negotiate employment in violation of the law, to track this information and the names of the persons participating in the unfair competition provide information to the lawyers of ATA.
Stating that the ATA "trust in our position," Stuart also said, "The law is crystal clear. As ATA attorney Marvin Putnam of Latham & Watkins, who last week stated in a letter to WGA, there are several rulings by the California Labor Commissioner that no one other than a licensed talent agent – no manager, no lawyer – can get hold of Employment on behalf of an artist.
"It is important to note that" procuring "in this situation includes all negotiations on behalf of an artist. The labor commissioner defines procurement by actively engaging in communication with a potential purchaser of the artist's services aimed at gaining employment for the artist, regardless of who initiated the communication. "This," she said, "is true even if the talent first contacts the employer personally and negotiates part of the deal itself. "
Stuart said the ATA has heard that" some employers are trying to circumvent this problem by adopting the contractual language, stating that the managers and lawyers are not offering any procurement services. You should be aware that there is legal authority to state that a manager or solicitor may receive legal remedies for illegal procurement, even if a contract specifically states that the manager or solicitor is not "procuring". For example, in Doughty v. Hess The California Labor Commissioner found that a lawyer acting as a talent manager had illegally obtained compensation when negotiating compensation on behalf of his client and discussing potential projects with manufacturing companies. The Commissioner came to this conclusion, even though the lawyer and the artist had a contract that explicitly stated that the lawyer would not "get work".
"In addition, the idea put forward by the WGA would be subject to supervisors, lawyers or others. An antitrust liability for individual decisions to comply with the law is obviously wrong. Antitrust law generally prevents illegal mergers and concerted activities in trade restrictions. This prevents and can not prevent managers and employees from taking individual action to comply with legal requirements.
"WGA leadership's letter is only her latest tactic to circumvent established law and take on unexplored power at the expense of not just agents, but their members and other stakeholders across the industry. As many of you will remember, last month AMPTP sent a letter to the WGA leadership to Carol Lombardini refusing to take action that violated the Federal Cartel and Labor Law.
Here is the WGA's response to a letter from Stuart: "The Supreme Court has stated that the purpose of the Talent Agency Act is to protect artists from the abuse of talent agencies, including the" concealment of [of] Conflicts of Interest " Marathon Entertainment, Inc. v Blasi, 42 Cal.4th 974, 984 (2008). It is ironic that the ATA is now using the law to deprive authors of fair representation, while agents demand that such conflicts of interest continue. "