19 ans plus tard une situation qui perdure...

19 years later a situation that continues...

Here is an article in full by Frédérique Doyon published in Le Devoir on June 16, 2004. This problem persists and will have to be solved.

The Union des artistes reaches out to ADISQ

In the wake of the reactions to the judgment of the Superior Court clarifying the notion of show producer, the Union des artistes (UDA) is reaching out to ADISQ, watchdog of the notion of broadcaster, to settle the confusion of the entertainment industry. The two organizations were interveners in the case between the Guild of Musicians of Quebec and the Hippodrome of Montreal.

"Let's sit down and clarify the situation because it's chaos," suggests Pierre Curzi, president of the UDA, to ADISQ, who is considering challenging the decision to make the Hippodrome a producer when he hires artists to entertain its clientele. "Let's stop going to court to try to use case law to define something that makes sense: when we retain the services of artists, they must benefit from contracts and a minimum safety net."

The judgment handed down last week vindicated the Guild by refusing the Hippodrome the broadcaster status it was claiming. A status staunchly defended by ADISQ for several years and which ensures that no royalties (benefits, retirement funds, etc.) are ultimately paid to artists, since only the producer is bound by the the Guild and the UDA. The problem in this case is that the concept of broadcaster does not appear in the law, a situation which all the protagonists seem to accommodate, however each pulling the cover on his side.

“The principle of retention of services from artists [at the heart of the judgment] is the argument that we have always developed with ADISQ, RIDEAU and the festivals”, explains the one who deplores the spirit of “disempowerment” which hovers in the middle. The UDA has been trying in vain for seven years to reach an agreement with ADISQ to regularize contractual relations. The Guild reminded the day before yesterday that similar agreements already existed with several organizations (Festival d'été and Carnaval de Québec, hotels in Montreal) and were working very well. Even current members of ADISQ have already been bound by such agreements.

“If the next Gala de l'ADISQ could be one where the artists are finally in a respectful relationship with the producers, that would be great, underlines Mr. Curzi. But what I would like above all is that we sit down now to break the impasse.

Different judgment, same morals
In addition, another judgment, rendered at the end of May and left in the shadows, could serve as a tool to better define the relationships between the various players in the musical entertainment industry. The case opposed the Guild to the La Place bar next door, at the time when the Guild, led by Émile Subirana, hunted down producers in disguise. However, the Commission for the Recognition of Artists' Associations and Producers' Associations concluded that the bar was only a room lessor here, so it had no accountability to the union.

"La Place à Côté does not assume any of the roles devolved to a producer in that he does not participate in the development, setting up or financing of shows and does not retain the services of artists, can we read in the judgment. The role of Mr. Boudreau (owner of the bar) is limited to running a drinking establishment and renting a performance hall to artists, without taking any financial risks with regard to their performance.

“It's an interesting decision because it marks out the environment a bit by specifying what a room lessor is,” recognizes Luc Fortin, administrator of the Guild, who thus wishes to distance himself from the former administrators of the union. The current team would never have filed a lawsuit against this bar, according to him.

But the Guild intends to use the decision to hunt down those who really abuse this status. “There are bars that say they rent their room but really do programming,” explains Mr. Fortin. They take $100 from the sale of tickets [the price of which they decide], keep all the revenue from the sale of drinks and advertise to attract customers.

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