Monthly Archives: February 2008

Supreme Court orders Arbitration of Manager/Artist dispute

(Preston v. Ferrer) Congratulations to my friend and colleague Joe Schleimer, who successfully argued the case of Preston v. Ferrer before the United States Supreme Court. The Court ruled today in favor of Joe's client Arnold Preston (also an entertainment attorney), holding that when parties agree to arbitrate all questions arising under a contract, state laws giving primary jurisdiction over such disputes to state Courts or Agencies are preempted (superseded) by The Federal Arbitration Act. Continue Reading

Are audience participation/interactive shows in peril?

Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group - photo courtesy of Stelb. (flickr)

A Chicago man has filed a lawsuit against the producers of the Blue Man Group theatrical act.  His suit claims that he was chosen by the performers to participate in their “esophagus video” gag.  The actors held the man in place, and allegedly “forced  the esophagus cam into his mouth, and while he struggled to free himself, an image of his mouth and throat was projected on a video screen before the other audience members (including the man's grandson).  The man claims that this amounted to “offensive touching” caused injury to his throat, mouth and dental work, and his lawsuit includes claims for Battery, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The lesson for producers of live entertainment featuring interactions with the audience is that care must be taken to select audience participants who indicate their willingness to join in the show, and to be alert to signs that the audience participant may be embarrassed, upset or angered by the events as they unfold.
Audience members should be asked whether they consent to participate, and given a meaningful opportunity to decline.  Ultimately, the performers should take “no” for an answer.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user “Stelb”, used by permission under Creative Commons License

Updated: Yes, it's over! (formerly "Is It Over?")

WGA STRIKEWithin 48 hours striking screenwriters will vote on a tentative deal reached late last week between their union, Writer's Guild of America, and TV and Film networks and producers.  If the rank-and-file vote in favor of the proposed deal, writers could be back to work as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Details of the proposed agreement were presented to meetings of Writers in New York and Los Angeles Saturday, and union management will meet again on Sunday before putting the deal to a vote of the membership.

I haven't had a chance to see the terms of the proposed deal, but it stands to reason that Writers will receive a more meaningful share of “new media” revenues than originally proposed by the studios.  More details when I see the deal terms.

Randy Quaid Fined and Banned from Actor’s Equity

Actor Randy Quaid has been fined in the amount of $81,572, and banned from the stage actors’ union, Actor’s Equity Association for life, following the union’s investigation and a hearing to examine his alleged bad behavior during the unsuccessful Seattle run of “Lone Star Love”, a country musical based on Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of… Continue Reading

Randy Quaid Fined and Banned from Actor's Equity

Actor Randy Quaid has been fined in the amount of $81,572, and banned from the stage actors’ union, Actor’s Equity Association for life, following the union’s investigation and a hearing  to examine his alleged bad behavior during the unsuccessful Seattle run of “Lone Star Love”, a country musical based on Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of… Continue Reading

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