Musicians Union suing Sony over contract breach

By Alexandra Herrera  |  July 8, 2015 at 2:53 PM
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NEW YORK, July 8 (UPI) -- The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) filed a lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment over contract breach in the Michael Jackson documentary.

The lawsuit, which was filed in New York Federal Court, alleges Sony Music Entertainment misled artists into recording work, which had been believed to be for a phonographic record and not a film score.

The original contract between Sony and AFM for the Kenny Ortega directed film only covered recording sessions for records, not for film. Variety reported that AFM President Ray Hair had tried to get Sony Music Entertainment to sign a letter allowing AFM musicians to collect residuals from the film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, AFM is looking to collect in an unauthorized use in one of Pitbull's songs. The song, which contained music from Michael Jackson's Bad, was used without AFM's approval. The same issue came up when Sony released a Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits album and didn't notify AFM in order for the musicians used to get paid.

In the lawsuit, AFM is seeking payment of wages and benefits for the musicians who participated in the film. Though this isn't the first lawsuit that has been filed, it is the third lawsuit they have filed in months pertaining contract breach and licensing.

In the last two months, the union has gone after Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and MGM over similar issues. Sony on the other hand has not made any comments about the filing of the AFM lawsuit.

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