Calif. Agency Challenge

A coalition of artist managers has banded together to launch a website for its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the California Talent Agencies Act. 

Last year, the National Conference of Personal Managers petitioned the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to declare the TAA unconstitutional and enjoin California officials from continuing to enforce the TAA.

The act prohibits managers in the state from procuring work for their clients. The organization claims managers are often unfairly penalized under the law for acting as unlicensed talent agencies.

NCOPM also claims personal managers forfeited an estimated $500 million in voided management contracts or disgorgement of compensation and forced to settle artist disputes rather than face the risks and legal costs of a TAA hearing and subsequent litigation.

The organization’s suit alleges defendants California Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Labor Commissioner Julie Su have deprived NCOPM members and personal managers nationwide of their civil rights as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

TAA is unconstitutionally vague in the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment, the suit says, burdens commercial speech and impairs the obligations of contracts, among other claims.

NCOPM’s website lists the names of numerous artists the organization claims have been involved in TAA proceedings including Cher, Nick Carter, The Deftones, Gloria Estefan, Macy Gray, Rick James, Jefferson Airplane, Jewel, Kesha, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Tanya Tucker, Wilco, Dwight Yoakam, and more.

“The website reveals how for decades celebrities have invoked the TAA to avoid paying personal managers by claiming that their managers acted as unlicensed talent agents,” said NCOPM President Clinton Ford Billups Jr. “Managers are now asking other show business professionals to donate to the legal fund to fight this unconstitutional law which has caused irreparable harm not only to managers, but also to the overall well-being of the entire entertainment industry.”

Online contributions to NCOPM’s legal fund made through the site will go toward paying attorney fees and costs for the suit. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard later this year.