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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Issue Preview: Studios Deny Salary Conspiracy

Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will head to federal court later this month to seek dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that they and seven other companies conspired to keep down the salaries of animation artists who created some of Hollywood’s best-selling films and TV shows. Court documents allege the movie studios and visual effects houses worked together to suppress the pay for animators, digital artists and software engineers. While no exact dollar figure is requested in the suit, at stake are millions of dollars that the workers feel is due them. Attorneys are seeking to have the suit designated as a class action. Already, a related class action lawsuit involving Pixar and Lucasfilm Ltd. was settled in 2013 at a federal court in San Jose. Daniel Lay, a former visual effects artist with DreamWorks who is not part of the suit, said the allegations against U.S. companies could just be the start since the animation and special effects industry is global, with major companies in Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand. “My suspicion is as this goes forward, it will show more players on an international level,” said Lay, who writes about the industry on his blog, VFX Soldier. The litigation alleges the collusion goes back to 1986, but also that it continued into the late 2000s. It allegedly started when Lucasfilm in San Francisco sold its computer graphics division to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs. Read the full story in the March 9 edition of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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