WGA Ratchets Up Legal Fight, Claims Agencies Use Mob Tactics

IndieWire | 8/19/2019 | Staff
kims (Posted by) Level 3
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The Writers Guild of America ratcheted up its fight against three major talent agencies Monday when it countersued WME, CAA, and UTA under a law that’s used to throw mob bosses in jail.

This consolidates the WGA-agency fight into one venue: US District Court. The union filed its initial lawsuit in state court in April, but withdrew that complaint Monday.

WGA - Practice - Constitutes - Laws - Packaging

The WGA alleges that the practice of packaging constitutes racketeering and violates antitrust laws. Packaging is when agencies bundle a project/script with talent from its ranks to sell a movie or TV show. Production companies pay a fee to the agency for that service.

It’s at the heart of the dispute that reached a head in April when 7,000 Hollywood writers fired their agents after the big agencies refused to budge on the practice — which the union wants to see abolished.

Service - Writers - Artists - Negotiations - Production

“What began as a service to writers and other artists in their negotiations with the production companies has become an unlawful price-fixing cartel dominated by a few powerful talent agencies that use their control of talent first and foremost to enrich themselves,” the filing reads.

The countersuits are being brought under the RICO Act — the charge the FBI used to put Junior Soprano on trial in “The Sopranos” and, in real life, used to convict mob boss John Gotti. In recent years the statute has been increasingly used in civil suits against large corporations.

WGA - Monday - Action - Countersuit - Response

The WGA’s Monday action was its countersuit in response to CAA’s July 1 lawsuit. Countersuits against the two other agencies are similar and the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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