Netflix fighting Fox in court over talent-poaching rights

Dive Brief:

  • One of the nation’s best-known streaming networks, Netflix, is defending its talent-poaching rights against media conglomerate Fox in court, says The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix makes no secret of its plans to woo studio executives in the film and television industry.
  • Fox sought an injunction against Netflix in September to stop it from what it called interfering with Fox executives’ contracts, says the Reporter. So far, Netflix has signed on two former Fox executives, Marcos Waltenberg, a marketing executive, and Tara Flynn, Fox creative executive of Homeland and The Americans.
  • Netflix filed a counter suit demanding that Fox’s fixed-term contracts be declared unenforceable. The company alleges that Fox’s fixed-term contracts bully executives, and that their “take or leave it” implication amounts to “involuntary servitude.” 

Dive Insight:

The film and television industry has a long history of talent-poaching. Networks routinely woo studio executives and on-air talent with higher salaries, sign-on bonuses, stock options and other perquisites. In November 2016, SHRM reported an increase in talent poaching across industries, with financial services, retail and technology being the biggest stealers. However, the Netflix-Fox dispute might mark an increase in court battles over talent poaching in the future.  

These arguments bring up the debate over how much control employees have or should have over their careers. Many HR executives advise employees to take charge of their own careers, even if that means leaving their current position for a better opportunity elsewhere. Employers who make that choice difficult, with stringent contracts and non-compete agreements, may see that the odds are increasingly not in their favor.

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Filed Under: Recruiting Legal