Netflix Poaching Lawsuit Could Result In A Changed Industry
To say that Netflix is under assault is an understatement. The popular streaming provider had deals with most major broadcast providers and has purchased the rights to stream many popular TV shows. But those same networks have started to launch their own streaming services, which means that content Netflix once relied upon is being sapped away over the years — and it now has to rely on its own original content to survive. So far, Netflix is doing more than holding its own. It’s dominating the streaming industry.
That’s why Netflix takes trademark and copyright infringement very seriously. All users can find information on the company’s policies on its platform or website. Last year, there were rumors that the Trump administration might sue Netflix over the trademark for Space Force, a branch of the military that the former president kick-started. But because the Netflix show is basically a parody, there’s little doubt that the outcome of that lawsuit would’ve been a dismissal.
But trademark suits aren’t the only problem that Netflix is dealing with. One lawsuit argues that Netflix is poaching executives from other studios despite contractual obligations that would bar those executives from going elsewhere. Some acknowledge that lawsuits like these will end up transforming the industry.
An anonymous attorney who works for sexual abuse lawfirm Paul Mones PC said, “The entertainment industry has been plagued by sexual assault allegations for years, and more are coming monthly. It’s still reeling from that. The pandemic was another blow. More people started pirating content. And now there’s fighting to see who will win the streaming wars. It’s naive to think the industry won’t change as a result of this cascade of transformative events.
Injunctions in the poaching battle now prevent Netflix from recruiting executives who are bound by fixed-term contracts for Disney, the company that sued Netflix — which isn’t a huge surprise since Disney just launched a massive streaming service of its own, and became one of Netflix’s biggest competitors almost overnight.
But SAG-AFTRA is worried that the suit and subsequent appeals decision will affect how some producers can leverage actors in one market or another.
SAG-AFTRA briefs described the concerns: “George Clooney. Tom Hanks. Michelle Williams. Melissa McCarthy. Even the late Robin Williams. Why are some of Hollywood’s biggest stars relevant to a fight between two entertainment megaliths relating to the hiring of two corporate vice presidents?”
The brief continued, “Because the lower court’s decision in this case has potential significance far beyond the executive suite. Long before these critically and internationally acclaimed actors became film stars, they got their start on television. And long before these actors found fame, the California Legislature recognized that all workers, including actors, should be free to seek and obtain new employment.”
In other words, agreements like the ones that executives are bound by shouldn’t necessarily be held in high regard because they prevent competition.