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Marc Sazer
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Since repetition seems to be the order of the day, let's get back to basics: It is gratifying that the divisive and foolish charges against me have been dropped. How often has the IEB filed charges against a member? And how many times have they had to back down? These charges were and always were about toxic politics...nothing else. It is not gratifying to be attacked and accused of secrecy, of hiding things, by anonymous ghosts of blogdom. I spent hours on trial before the IEB, answering dozens of questions posed by a hostile IEB. The IEB refused to allow a proper record of my trial to be created (I offered to hire a court reporter at my own expense). They repeatedly attempted to require that I spend my own money to travel thousands of miles for my hearing. I was told that I would be denied legal representation while the IEB had an attorney representing them. Finally, the IEB tried Andy Malloy and me – by speakerphone! After being subjected to a kangaroo court without process or integrity, the thought that someone who won’t even stand up to speak in their own name could accuse me of hiding is mind-boggling. My trial is now concluded, and I would be delighted for all of the associated evidence to be released. I would trust my fellow musicians to form their own judgment about the fairness of the proceedings, and the reality of the evidence. I believe that the record shows an AFM held captive by the power politics of ambitious politicians. Fairness, democracy, and basic competence are denied. This union must institute real change. A commitment to real process, real fairness and the needs of real players would be a good first step.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2009 on Not just the RMA at The AFM Observer
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AFM Bylaws and the Roehl Report call for an EMSD Oversight Committee. I know this is acceptable to recording musicians; we have repeatedly asked for it to be implemented. Hmmm.... Perhaps following the Bylaws would be a good start. Is that acceptable to both sides?
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2009 on Not just the RMA at The AFM Observer
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It is gratifying that the divisive and foolish charges against me have been dropped. How often has the IEB filed charges against a member? And how many times have they had to back down? These charges were and always were about toxic politics...nothing else. It is not gratifying to be attacked and accused of secrecy, of hiding things, by anonymous ghosts of blogdom. I spent hours on trial before the IEB, answering dozens of questions posed by a hostile IEB. The IEB refused to allow a proper record of my trial to be created (I offered to hire a court reporter at my own expense). They repeatedly attempted to require that I spend my own money to travel thousands of miles for my hearing. I was told that I would be denied legal representation while the IEB had an attorney representing them. Finally, the IEB tried Andy Malloy and me – by speakerphone! After being subjected to a kangaroo court without process or integrity, the thought that someone who won’t even stand up to speak in their own name could accuse me of hiding is mind-boggling. My trial is now concluded, and I would be delighted for all of the associated evidence to be released. I would trust my fellow musicians to form their own judgment about the fairness of the proceedings, and the reality of the evidence. I believe that the record shows an AFM held captive by the power politics of ambitious politicians. Fairness, democracy, and basic competence are denied. This union must institute real change. A commitment to real process, real fairness and the needs of real players would be a good first step.
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So let's see...our AFM paid the Carmen Group over $116,000 dollars last year. The failed Videogames strategy garnered less than $10,000 last year in AFM work dues. All sorts of professional-looking anonymous blog postings have supported the IEB's Videogames strategies, many of them right here on the AFM Observer. Who is making out big here? Follow the money...out of your pocket, and into the Carmen Group.
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2009 on Your dues dollars at work at The AFM Observer
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Propaganda professionals excel at changing the subject, and trying to set a new agenda. Lee doesn't respond to the failure of his adventures in Videogames, won't respond to the degree to which AFM Videogame scoring has nosedived, won't respond to the ways in which his administration's efforts to undermine musician protections in this field have harmed players in other areas. Never mind that jingles wages and sessions have sunk to historic lows as well, just as we warned. He has not responded to the call from working musicians across the continent for simple democracy; the right to vote on their contracts. He plays a shell game; change the subject. Let's all talk about how Robert Levine characterized a lawsuit. Now that's really important! (Sorry, Robert..) The right to vote on our contracts is at the heart of the Parmeter lawsuit. Like it or not, the drive for basic rights doesn't just go away. That is why an appeal is now before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - despite Lee's words, the legal case is not over. And what will never end is the determination of working musicians to have a real say about their own workplace, and their own contracts.
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2009 on The handmaiden’s lament at The AFM Observer
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Tony, You're right, it's amazing that the AFM keeps pretending that their videogame adventure is a big success. We had (from 2002) a legitimate AFM videogame scoring agreement in place. A stable of employers was building steadily, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of real employment flowed to AFM musicians. Then, in 2005, the AFM closed up shop. They lost the staff assigned to VG, and never hired replacements. The EMSD was in disarray (and remains so). They shuttered the windows and pulled up the sidewalks. Fast forward to the end of 2006. The only agenda the AFM had was to play politics, and cannibalize their own agreement - all because the players had created and supported it. They set up two competing agreements, for the same locations, one cheaper and crappier than the other. Sure, there was a bump, because they were cannibalizing employment onto a cheaper contract. But push has come to shove. It's a mess, and a failure. A mess and failure of the AFM's own making. Claptrap, indeed!
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It seems to me that who the union allows to join is less important at the moment that how the AFM goes about setting policy in real life. The IEB has been setting videogames policy by responding only to employers and political insiders. The results? Predictably, a disaster. Employment is actually half of what it was in 2007, and declining. Annual AFM videogames wages - from everywhere, all together - are less than a couple of weeks of film scoring. Yet the International Musician trumpets this huge success. It is the tawdriest of empty photo-op silliness. Perhaps if policy were set by actual musicians we could do better?
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The Dissolution Agreement of 1961 was not, as far as I can tell from the documents, part of the lawsuit at all. The Parmeter lawsuit is all about the contradiction between the AFM using the same Bylaw language to on the one hand, tell musicians that our contracts were negotiated and therefore we have to pay AFM work dues, and on the other hand, say that those same contracts are not negotiated, so that we can't vote on them. Duplicity? It's all about democracy denied.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2009 on FarePlay's response at The AFM Observer
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Theoretical discussions of democracy are fine, and enjoyable. However, the basis of the Parmeter lawsuit is real-life - musicians should have the right to vote on their contracts. The right to vote is a simple democratic issue. No vote - no work dues. This would have been a pretty simple issue for the AFM to solve. Just let us vote!
Toggle Commented May 28, 2009 on FarePlay's response at The AFM Observer
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It's pretty strange to answer someone who sounds like Tom in a post called someone who sounds like Tom. He/she suggests that the AFM needs help crippling itself. The greatest triumph the International Musician and Tom Lee keep trumpeting is in videogames; an abject failure! Wages have plummeted while industry profits soared. Employment in 2008 was half what it was in 2007. Musicians in both Los Angeles and San Francisco are unhappy and disappointed. I understand that many of the best players in the San Francisco Symphony have decided to refuse future videogame employment because it is such a mess. The AFM needs help crippling itself?
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A trombone repairman? Oh my god! Who would ever make such an accusation. Come on, can't we play fair here?
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So the sum total of AFM videogames wages in 2008 was about $450,000. Total. That means that the AFM work dues was about $5,620. Total. The cost of the Diamond Sponsorship of the Game Audio Network Guild, was $7,500 in 2008. Not counting transportation, drinks and other party expenses for AFM officers and staff to attend their annual party. Sounds like a loser to me.
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