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AFM Suing Six Studios For Reusing Soundtracks Without Paying Musicians

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) is suing six major studios for reusing film soundtrack clips in other films and TV programs without appropriately compensating musicians.

Our agreements obligate the studios to make additional payments to musicians when soundtracks are reused and AFM members are entitled to receive the benefit of that agreement,” said AFM International President Ray Hair. “Our efforts to resolve these contract violations and missing payments have been unproductive, so we are looking to the courts for relief.”

The union’s lawsuit specifically charges Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (“Columbia”), Paramount Pictures Corporation (“Paramount”), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (“Fox”), Universal City Studios LLC (“Universal”), Walt Disney Pictures, Inc. (“Disney”), and Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. (“Warner Brothers”) for reusing previously recorded film soundtracks in violation of AFM’s collective bargaining agreement with the studios.

The lawsuit cites numerous examples of the studios reusing film scores without paying musicians including:

• Columbia using music from Karate Kid in an episode of the TV series Happy Endings;
• Disney using music from Beauty and the Beast and The Muppet Movie in the TV series The Neighbors;
• Fox using music from Titanic in the film This Means War;
• Paramount using music from Up in the Air in the film Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story;
• Universal using music from Bourne Identity in the TV series The Office; and
• Warner Brothers using music from Battle for the Planet of the Apes in the film Argo.

AFM is seeking award damages for all losses, including prejudgment interest. Read the complaint here.