Chaitovitz to testify at California State Senate hearings

The top music exec for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists has been tapped to testify at next week’s California State Senate hearings on a law exempting record companies from limiting personal service contracts to seven years.

Anne Chaitovitz, AFTRA’s national director of sound recordings, said the union had lobbied against the so-called Seven Year Statute when it was enacted in 1987. The amendment to Labor Code Section 2855 allows companies to sue artists and collect damages on undelivered albums.

“We will aggressively support all efforts to protect artists’ contractual rights on a state and federal level,” Chaitovitz said. “Recording artists are singled out in California and denied the protection offered to every other worker in the state.”

AFTRA member and recording artist Patti Austin has also been selected to testify at the Sept. 5 hearing in Sacramento, along with Don Henley, Courtney Love and label execs. The hearing will be the first under the auspices of the Select Committee on the Entertainment Industry, chaired by State Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles).

The hearings come in the wake of legal battles launched against record labels by artists over contracts and accounting practices. Love has sued Vivendi Universal, and the Dixie Chicks countersued Sony this week over alleged withholding of royalties.

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