New legislation supported by the Music Artists Coalition, SAG-AFTRA and the Black Music Action Coalition has been introduced which would close several loopholes in artist contracts in the state of California.
AB 1385 is dubbed the Free Artists from Industry Restrictions, or FAIR Act, and was introduced by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez on February 19 2021 and amended on March 18.
The law would target current restrictions which bind artists to labels via exclusive contract windows by amending the “seven year rule,” the maximum time in which studios and labels can enforce personal service contracts. At present, artists can end their contracts after seven years, but music labels can sue for damages — a potent threat that hangs over an artist’s head.
I introduced the FAIR Act w/ @sagaftra @MusicArtistsCo @bma_coalition @wearesonaLA to stop one-sided contracts & empower CA artists. Old laws that allowed companies to bind artists to contracts for an unreasonable length of time need to be updated. https://t.co/tUEVZXZfKL
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) March 19, 2021
The bill also targets “exclusive” options in actor contracts which currently prevent them from working from anyone else when a show or series is on hiatus.
“The landscape of the entertainment industry has dramatically changed,” Gonzalez said in a statement from her office, “yet companies still benefit from outdated laws that allow them to wield an overwhelming amount of control over artists.
“No worker should ever be bound to an unreasonable contract that holds them back from making decisions about their own livelihood.”
Lorena Gonzalez is the rare state legislator who has attracted national attention, first for her work as the author of 2019’s “Assembly Bill 5,” which required many workers who were previously employed on a freelance basis to be classified as employees with the legal protections and employer obligations that entails.
She also tweeted “Fuck Elon Musk”:
F*ck Elon Musk.
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) May 10, 2020