|The Honorable Kevin Murray
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
|May 15, 2003|
Dear Senator Murray:
The Department for Professional Employees (DPE) is a coalition of 23 national unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO which represent over four million highly skilled white-collar employees. DPE unions include professionals in over three-hundred separate and distinct occupations in many sectors, including health care and education; science; engineering and technology; journalism; entertainment and the arts; public administration and law enforcement. The DPE is the largest association of professional, technical and administrative support workers in the U.S.
The Department for Professional Employees actively promotes the public policy interests of member unions through direct lobby and advocacy, along with the transmission of position papers to Congress and Federal agencies. DPE also assists affiliated unions with their legislative and regulatory priorities relating to their professional members.
In our experience as a representative for royalty artists, we have seen that record label accounting practices have routinely deprived royalty artists of the compensation that they are entitled to receive under their royalty contracts.
As you know, proper accounting is the basic foundation of the relationship between artists and record companies. Proper accounting of an artist’s royalties earned not only advises how much the artist owes the label or will receive from the label but also is used to determine if an artist qualifies for health and pension benefits under the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds. These benefits are extremely important to the artist and their families as well as to the public, which provides public assistance if the artists are denied health benefits or a pension because of the inaccurate accounting.
Under the current structure, there is no real penalty if the record companies do not report royalties accurately, creating a disincentive for the companies to report fully and, in essence, rewarding the companies for their bad behavior. SB 1034 would give artists the assurance they deserve that record companies must accurately report royalties and pay them in accordance with their contractual obligations.
Thank you once again for your leadership and support of SB 1034.
Paul E. Almeida,