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US: UTA joins WME in filing suit against Writers Guild

 |  June 27, 2019

UTA filed an antitrust lawsuit Thursday against the Writers Guild of America, accusing the union of violating federal law by exceeding the scope of its authority to regulate agents, just days after WME filed a similar lawsuit against the guild. The moves signal a dramatic escalation of the bitter struggle between the WGA and the industry’s major talent agencies over packaging fees and affiliate production.

Both lawsuits allege that the guild is engaging in an illegal group boycott of agencies that refuse to sign onto the union’s Code of Conduct, introduced in April, that bars both disputed practices. At issue in the litigation is the scope of a union’s right to act anticompetitively — for instance, to call for a boycott — under two specific labor antitrust exemptions, the “statutory exemption” that is written into the law and a judge-made “non-statutory exemption.”

“WGA placed the interests of a few well-heeled individuals above the interests of its membership,” states UTA’s complaint, which argues that most writers benefit from not having to pay 10 percent commissions.

Full Content: Hollywood Reporter

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