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DJ´s usually cannot simply walk away from their agent without being liable for loss and/or damages

DJ´s usually cannot simply walk away from their agent without being liable for loss and/or damages

<b><br /> Earlier this year, the Amsterdam District Court issued a ruling regarding a case between a DJ and his booking agency. Parties made an oral agreement with each other. The contracts between the agency and the clients of the DJ (the party organizers and venues/rooms) were always prepared, completed and signed by the booking agency, usually on behalf of the DJ. The DJ suddenly terminated the agreement because he did not feel comfortable anymore within the agency. The agency opposed the termination of the contract.
An important question in cases like these concerns the nature of the contract. Is it a more general collaboration, an agreement of assignment, a commission contract or an agency contract? Dutch laws includes a number of provisions favorable to an (booking) agency in the event a contract is terminated by the client. As a result, a booking agency can be entitled to receive compensation such as goodwill indemnity (in Dutch: ‘klantenvergoeding’) which may be as high as last year’s turnover. The Dutch laws on agency agreements also contain specific rules regarding the notice period to be observed by the DJ or artist when terminating the agreement. 
<b><br /> In a case between the Dutch agency &V and its DJ Genairo Nvila the judge ruled in favour of the agency that there was indeed an agency relationship (in Dutch ‘agentuur’) between the parties. The booking agent was not subordinate to the DJ, the parties entered into the agreement for an indefinite period of time and the economic risk of the work to be done was primarily with the DJ. The three requirements needed in order to qualify as an agency agreement were met in full. 
<b><br /> Although the DJ himself thought he had a good reason for the cancellation of the agency agreement, the Court did not agree with him. The DJ simply wrote in an email to the agency that he no longer felt ‘at ease’ with the booking agency, and for that reason he immediately terminated the relationship. This however does not qualify as a sufficient reason in a court of law. According to Dutch laws on agency agreements, the DJ had to observe (in this case) at least a notice period of four months. The DJ therefore had become liable for damages. 
Since this civil procedure was initiated by the DJ, the Court was not asked to give a verdict on the amount of damages the agency was entitled to. However, the judge was clear in his judgement that the booking agency was entitled to suspend payment to the DJ and the DJ also had to pay for the costs of the proceedings. The agency is very happy with the result. They won the case on all counts and this verdict can serve as a warning to others. DJ’s and artists have to respect the reasonable interests of the agency and cannot simply walk away from a signed agreement whenever they feel like it.
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<b>DJ&#8217;s, artists, producers and their booking agencies should ask themselves what kind of legal relationship they want to enter into. In case the parties involved decide not to sign a contract, it is most likely that the DJ or artist will be held responsible for damages lost by the agent  in the event they suddenly terminate their (verbal) contract.
Margriet Koedooder</a>

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