The Creative Artists Agency filed an antitrust lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles against the Writers Guild of America, accusing the union of violating federal law by exceeding its authority to regulate agents.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, is similar to recent complaints brought against the guild by Hollywood talent agencies William Morris Endeavor and United Talent Agency. The union representing film, television, radio and new media writers is at odds with the agencies over packaging fees and affiliate production.
“This lawsuit is necessary because the leadership of a labor union is attempting to restrain competition on a staggering scale using illegal means, including agreements with non-labor parties in service of a group boycott and overly restrictive restraints in commercial markets that the union has no authority to regulate, all of which is prohibited by law,” the suit states.
The lawsuits stem from a months-long standoff between the guild and the talent agencies, and the WGA’s attempt to invalidate agencies’ packaging fees, which the union claims violate state and federal law. The guild has requested that its members fire agents who refuse to sign a new code of conduct.
Packaging fees are up-front funds paid by a studio to an agency representing multiple people — such as writers, actors or directors — on a particular show or production. The guild contends such fees hurt writers, often leading to agents earning more money on package deals than the writers themselves.
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