Sunday, May 01, 2016


Sony decides to make peace.

First Fox’s Blue Sky Studios reached a multi-million dollar settlement and now tellingly Sony has come to an 8-figure deal to exit the on-going potential class action suit against itself, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, LucasFilm, Disney and the now shuttered Imagemovers Digital over wage-fixing and anti-poaching allegations. The $13 million dollar Sony deal signals a major shift in the ‘toon studios’ legal strategy and could see the remaining defendants moving to make their own deals to wrap this thing up. ...

Citing expediency, the plaintiffs’ attorneys want Judge Lucy Koh to schedule the preliminary approval hearing for the Sony settlement with the already set June 16 court appearance for the Blue Sky Studios deal. A hearing on class certification for the case is currently on the calendar for May 6.

Former DWA visual effects artist Nitsch first filed his case on September 8, 2014 with Wentworth and Cano putting their paperwork before the courts soon afterwards. “The Defendants themselves have explained the purpose of the conspiracy and in doing so, articulated the harm and injury caused by it to their workers. George Lucas explained under oath that the purpose of the non-solicitation agreement was to suppress wages and keep the visual effects industry out of “a normal industrial competitive situation.’” ...

The Animation Guild was subpoenaed for docments on this case several months ago, and I was then deposed for three hours in Century City. (I didn't have much of importance to say beyond giving dates of meetings and regurgitating a few points out of some redacted emails.)

My take on all the studios (alleged) wage suppression scheme is that companies large and small have been focused on keeping costs down for years. I understand that maximizing profits are what corporations do, but there are legit ways to go about that, and less legitimate ways. Studios working in concert to keep wages lower (allegedly) was a long-term strategy, and that the various companies are, one by one, making decisions to put the issue behind them. (Probably a wise thing to do.)

Our fine, entertainment conglomerates already get Free Money from various geographic locations (California, Georgia, Canada, Britain, France, etc., etc.) so they should lay off hammering paychecks into the ground. The Top Dogs should let the people that put the images on the screen earn more money too.


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