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ARBITRATION

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The hearing and determination of a contract dispute by an impartial third party (called an arbitrator or arbiter). The arbitrator is selected by the disagreeing parties or by legal authority.

Many unions and guilds in the music industry (e.g., AFTRA, AGVA, ARA, and SGA) provide that disputes concerning interpretation and alleged breaches of contracts be submitted to arbitration.

In some contracts, the American Arbitration Association is designated as the arbitrator. If so, the arbitration proceedings would be carried out according to American Arbitration Association guidelines called the "Code of Ethics and Procedural Standards." Another way to choose the arbitrator is to have each party choose a representative and the two representatives then choose an independent third party. These three then decide by majority vote as to the outcome of the dispute. When independent arbitrators are used, they may, or may not (according to prior contractual agreement), carry out their duties according to American Arbitration Association guidelines.

In arbitration, the disputing parties agree to abide by the arbitrator's decision (called an "award") in advance of the hearing (usually by written contract). The arbitrator is not bound by the strict rules of law or equity. One advantage of an arbitrated settlement is that it does not involve lengthy and costly court proceedings. Corporations, however, will often resist arbitration holding their view that arbitration decisions tend to favor individuals over corporations and compromise over rendering decisions based on technical principals of the law. Another down side is that arbitration does not set precedent in law as may be the case in court judgments. Also, arbitration remedies may be hard to implement if the losing party refuses to comply. In this situation, court action may be the end result anyway. See: MEDIATION, EQUITY, SETTLEMENT, DAMAGES, JUDGMENT, REMEDY, RESTITUTION, CONTRACT, CONTRACT-A CLOSER LOOK, CONTRACT-CLUB CONTRACT, CONTRACT-RECORDING CONTRACT clause #50, CONTRACT-SONGWRITER/PUBLISHER CONTRACT clause #40, CONTRACT-BUYER/VENDOR CONTRACT clause #19, COPYRIGHT LAW under "Copyright Royalty Tribunal."

Binding Arbitration:

An agreement that states that all parties involved in a contract dispute are obligated to comply with an arbiter's resolving decisions. See: CONTRACT-RECORDING CONTRACT clause #50, CONTRACT-SONGWRITER/PUBLISHER CONTRACT clause #40, CONTRACT-BUYER/VENDOR CONTRACT clause #19.

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