Session musicians and background vocalists could receive a payment. The Fund has agreed to undertake extensive efforts to locate and pay nonfeatured performers who were entitled to receive royalties from 2011 through 2016.
Dallas, TX, May 22, 2020 — A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit concerning approximately $46 million in undistributed royalties held by the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund. The undistributed royalties are owed to session musicians and background vocalists (known as “nonfeatured performers” under the U.S. Copyright Act) on recordings that were played a sufficient number of times on noninteractive webcasting, satellite radio, or digital cable. Any nonfeatured performers on such covered recordings who have not already received the royalties that are due to them from the Fund are included in the settlement and are entitled to receive those unpaid royalties.
The Fund has agreed to undertake extensive efforts to locate and pay nonfeatured performers who were entitled to receive royalties from 2011 through 2016. As of November 30, 2019, approximately 61,298 nonfeatured performers were owed royalties for 2011 through 2016 totaling $45,848,800. After deducting settlement and administration costs, attorneys’ fees, and service award payments to the class representatives, this amount will be used to make payments to settlement class members, which could range from $10 to tens of thousands of dollars each. The Fund will also follow the agreed-upon procedures for distributing the royalties received from 2017 to 2019 and hire business and marketing consultants to help it better identify and pay nonfeatured performers going forward. The settlement was reached in the case Blondell v. Bouton, Case No. 1;17-cv-00372 (E.D.N.Y.).
Any nonfeatured performer can check whether they are entitled to royalties under this settlement by reviewing the unclaimed royalties list at www.afmsagaftrafund.org/unclaimed-royalties.php and the covered recordings list located at www.afmsagaftrafund.org/covered-rec-title_SR_Master.php. If the nonfeatured performer is included on the unclaimed royalties list, they are included in the settlement and are entitled to receive royalties. If a recording that a nonfeatured performer played on is included in the covered recordings list but that nonfeatured performer is not listed as having played on that recording, they may also be part of the settlement and entitled to receive royalties. In that case, the nonfeatured performer should submit an Omissions Claim Form to the Fund, which can be found at www.afmsagaftrafund.org/PDF/FORMS/Omissions_Claim_Form_AFM_SRDF_2019.pdf. In both cases, the nonfeatured performer should complete a Performer Information Form and submit it to the Fund as instructed on the Form. Performer Information Forms are available at www.SessionArtistRoyaltySettlement.com or by calling 1-844-799-1587.
The plaintiffs, all of whom are Texas session musicians and background vocalists, were represented by Dallas attorneys Eric Zukoski of Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser and Roger Mandel of Jeeves Mandel Law Group. Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser is an “AV Preeminent” Texas law firm with institutional clients in multiple industries. Jeeves Mandel Law Group is a nationally recognized “AV Preeminent” plaintiffs’ class action, complex commercial litigation and personal injury law firm with offices in Texas and Florida.
For more information on the settlement, visit www.SessionArtistRoyaltySettlement.com or call 1-844-799-1587.