Session Musicians Authorised for AFM, SAG-AFTRA Settlement

The lawsuit, filed by musician Kevin Risto in June 2018, accused AFM and SAG-AFTRA of primarily taking an unlawful reduce from the recording royalties which can be paid to so-called non-featured artists — higher referred to as session musicians.

The 2 unions administer the Mental Property Rights Distribution Fund, which holds efficiency royalties from non-interactive digital streaming providers like Pandora for using copyrighted sound recordings. The fund then distributes that cash to session musicians, each union and non-union alike.

Risto, a non-union musician, accused AFM and SAG-AFTRA of exploiting their management over the fund to improperly tack on a brand new 3% service charge, paid on to the unions, earlier than distributing that cash. The lawsuit mentioned the brand new charge was not in one of the best curiosity of musicians and was the product of “deep conflicts of curiosity” between the unions and the fund.

On the time, AFM and SAG-AFTRA known as the lawsuit “frivolous,” however U.S. District Choose Christina Snyder later refused to dismiss the case, after which granted so-called “class certification” to greater than 30,000 musicians. Then in June, the decide as soon as once more refused to dismiss the case, saying it was potential that the service charge had been meant as a “windfall” for the unions.

Final month, with a trial looming, a settlement was lastly reached. The deal requires a pointy discount within the service charge, from 3% of all session royalties to a fixed-sum of $765,000 per 12 months, which is anticipated to avoid wasting musicians greater than $3 million over the subsequent three years. The deal additionally features a $5.35 million payout to class members and $2.6 million for legal professional’s charges and administration prices.

An legal professional for AFM and SAG-AFTRA didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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