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Music to many ears!

April 26, 2018 (11:00) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller


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The following from the SAG-AFTRA Website:

SAG-AFTRA commends the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing the Music Modernization Act [H.R. 5447] today.

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White said the following:

“Today’s vote by the House is an encouraging sign that our singers, sound recording artists and songwriters will at last be justly compensated for their pre-1972 works that have been enjoyed by millions on digital and satellite platforms without compensation to the creators. We thank the majority of Republicans and Democrats who voted to fix this injustice and to move the music industry forward. We thank House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Darrell Issa and all the other congressional leaders who are working to bring equity and respect to our most cherished creative voices.

“We look forward to working with the Senate to ensure all aspects of the Music Modernization Act are approved.”

Music especially to the Ol’ Dog.  What you never heard of the Elvis Presley Blues, A Girl named Harry, Juicy Brucey….


The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headline photo selected by the Watchdog



SAG-AFTRA is excited to announce the new Corporate/Educational and Non-Broadcast Waiver for Print-Only Campaigns.

April 25, 2018 (12:45) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller


The Following from the SAG/AFTRA Website:

SAG-AFTRA is excited to announce the new Corporate/Educational and Non-Broadcast Waiver for Print-Only Campaigns.

We know over the past several years it has been difficult for you to be engaged on print-only shoots due to the trend of filming behind-the scenes/b-roll footage. We appreciate your commitment to the Union. We heard you and in response have developed a behind-the-scenes footage waiver that allows for coverage and payment only for professional performers on print-only shoots.

The waiver may be signed for one production only; the signing company is not committing to the Co/Ed Contract other than for the specific project identified on the Letter of Adherence. The signatory could be anyone connected with the shoot ex: advertiser, ad agency, production company, producer, payroll company. You can even bring the one page document to set!

Click here for a flyer describing the terms of the waiver and a sample of the Letter of Adherence that a company would need to complete.

If you have any further questions, please reach out to Tracy Hyman in New York at (212) 827-1520 or Beth Haynes in Los Angeles at (323) 549-6854.

Ah, Okay.  As usual we are continuing our unwavering coverage…ah, again…even on waivering!


The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headline Photo from SAG-AFTRA Website



Association Of Talent Agents Skeptical Of WGA’s Anti-Packaging Proposals

April 24, 2018 (16:01) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

Number 30 Facts

By David Robb
April 24, 2018 11:45am

The Writers Guild’s proposals for a new talent agency agreement were greeted with skepticism from the Association of Talent Agents today.

The WGA has proposed 30 changes to its 42-year-old agreement with the ATA that would reshape the talent agency business by putting an end to packaging and stopping the agencies’ nascent ventures into film and television production. The WGA says the changes are needed to curb “conflicts of interest” inherent in agents representing writers on projects in which they have a financial interest. ATA executive director Karen Stuart isn’t buying the guild’s arguments but says she and the agencies will bargain with the WGA now that the guild has set a one-year deadline for the termination of their existing deal.

“Two weeks ago, the WGA announced its intention to re-negotiate the 42-year-old agreement that governs how agents interact with their writer clients,” Stuart said in a statement today. “Given how well this agreement has worked over the years – and the fact that never in all that time has the WGA formally contacted the ATA to object to any of its provisions – we found the announcement as puzzling as it was surprising. Attempting to take away from agents opportunities and the right to commission traditional services will not benefit the writers; rather, it will have the opposite effect.

“The fact is that many of the practices that the WGA presents as problematic create exactly the opportunities its members have been demanding from their agents: access to other agency clients to help advance their projects, innovative deal strategies, aggressive negotiating tactics, and an expanded array of services for the writers and the talent community more generally. Given all this, it’s hard to understand the WGA’s contention that it should be able to dictate what kinds of work talent agencies should be allowed to do and which agencies its members should be allowed to hire.”
She added: “Nevertheless, the ATA and its members are committed to bargaining in good faith, with the objective of ensuring that the interests of writers are served.”

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Okay, lets test the power of positive thinking.  All together hum “There will be some changes made!”   Huh?  Okay, okay…you’re such sticklers!  Make that the power of positive Humming!


the Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headline photo selected the Watchdog




Attention All Members Who Do Audiobook Narration Work!

April 23, 2018 (13:28) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller


The following from SAG-AFTRA:

Attention All Members Who Do Audiobook Narration Work

Important Notice Regarding eAudio in Astoria, New York

SAG-AFTRA has been successfully organizing in the area of audiobooks for the last decade and has contracts with publishers and producers both large and small across the country.

eAudio is a company based in Astoria, New York that produces children’s audiobooks. eAudio was signed to a two (2) year agreement that expired on October 31, 2017. The company was formerly known as Robert Agis Productions and was signed to a SAG-AFTRA audiobook agreement effective October 31, 2015.

SAG-AFTRA attempted to negotiate a successor agreement with eAudio but the company refused stating that it was not going to work with SAG-AFTRA members. The company was advised in writing and by phone that SAG-AFTRA staff would have no choice but to seek a “No Contract, No Work” order if an agreement was not reached.

As such, with the unanimous support of the SAG-AFTRA Audiobook Steering Committee, the Executive Committee of the National Board has voted unanimously to issue a “No Contract, No Work” order against eAudio. Members are further advised that SAG-AFTRA has reason to believe Robert Agis may create new entities to engage in non-union production and therefore members are urged to contact the union if offered work by any Robert Agis affiliated entity.

Therefore SAG-AFTRA members are hereby informed that no member may accept work with eAudio until such time as it becomes signatory to a SAG-AFTRA agreement and that violation of such order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.

For more information or if you are otherwise contacted by the company, contact SAG-AFTRA Associate Executive Director/Labor Counsel News and Broadcast Richard Larkin (212) 863-4242 or richard.larkin@sagaftra.org.

Hang tough fellow members!


The Ol’ SAG Watchdog



WGA Seeks To Reshape Talent Agency Business With Proposal For New Deal

April 20, 2018 (23:28) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller



By David Robb
April 20, 2018 4:47pm

EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Guild wants to completely reshape the talent agency business, putting an end to packaging and stopping the agencies’ nascent ventures into film and television production.

In their proposals for a new agreement with the Association of Talent Agents, the WGA East and WGA West have proposed that “No agency shall accept any money or thing of value from the employer of a client.” That would effectively end all packaging deals, in which agencies receive upfront and back-end fees from the companies on shows in which they bring together various creative and financial elements.

“They don’t want packaging and they don’t want us to have any financial interests in productions,” a source at a major talent agency told Deadline.

The ATA recently received the new proposal and sent it to members last week. A copy was obtained by Deadline.

As previously reported, the WGA has served notice that it wants to renegotiate a 42-year-old agreement with the ATA, and have set a one-year deadline for the termination of their existing deal. The guilds’ actual proposals, however, have not been made public until now, and if adopted, would upend the way the agencies do business – something the agencies are not likely to accept without a protracted fight.

The Screen Actors Guild tried to take a similarly hard stand with the ATA in 2002, and when they couldn’t come to terms, the guild pulled its franchise agreements from all the top agencies. That move, although dramatic, saw no change in the way the agencies conducted business, and few if any actors left the big agencies to be represented by smaller ones that had agreed to SAG’s terms. It’s a standoff that continues to this day.

Like SAG – now SAG-AFTRA – the WGA has long believed that packaging creates a conflict of interest for agencies, giving them an incentive to low-ball clients on projects in which the agencies have a financial interest — as is the case on all packaged shows. Agents, however, scoff at such a notion, pointing out that their clients would bolt for the doors if they thought they were being shortchanged.

WGA officials argue that the agencies’ basic 3-3-10% packaging fee is standard in the industry, and that writers who leave one agency have to accept the same deal wherever they go. The WGA’s efforts to stamp out conflicts of interest also include a proposed that “No agency shall derive any revenue or other benefit from a client’s involvement in or employment on a motion picture project, other than a percentage commission based on the client’s compensation.” And by “motion pictures,” the WGA is referring not only to films, but also to TV and streaming shows.

This would effectively return the agencies to mere collectors of 10% commissions on the writers they represent – a business model that hasn’t existed at the big agencies in decades.

The WGA has also proposed that “no agency shall have an ownership or other financial interest in, or shall be owned by or affiliated with, any entity or individual engaged in the production or distribution of motion pictures.” Another proposal stipulates that “No agency shall have an ownership or other financial interest in, or shall be owned by or affiliated with, any business venture that would create an actual or apparent conflict of interest with Agency’s representation of a client.

“The guild’s proposals are entirely reasonable,” WGA West president David A. Goodman said. “If you read them closely, they read like a voluntary code of conduct that an agency would put up on their own website to attract writers and other talent. The proposals demonstrate a commitment to the fiduciary principles of law, always putting the client first and being an honorable representative.”

Here are the rest of the guild’s proposals for a new agreement, known as the Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement (AMBA), which hasn’t been renegotiated since 1976.

Agency-Client Relationship

a. Agency shall at all times act as a fiduciary of client, and shall comply with all fiduciary duties imposed by statute or common law.

b. Agency’s representation of a client shall not be influenced by its representation of any other client.

c. Agency shall promptly disclose to client all inquiries, offers and expressions of interest regarding employment or sale or option of literary material, and shall keep client apprised of the status of all negotiations.

d. Agency shall maintain confidentiality with respect to client’s employment and financial affairs.

e. Agency shall not submit client for employment where the employer or producer has not yet secured underlying rights necessary for the assignment.

f. Agency shall be responsive and professional in communicating with client.

Agency Compensation

a. Agency’s commission shall be limited to 10% of client’s gross compensation, including client’s profit participation.

b. Agency’s commission shall not reduce client’s compensation below MBA scale compensation.

c. Agency shall not circumvent limits on commissions by charging fees for other services.

d. Agency shall provide quarterly to client and to the guild an itemized statement showing in standardized electronic format (i) all compensation received by or on behalf of client; and (ii) all commissions and other revenue received by agency related to its representation of client. Client and guild shall have the right to audit such statements.

Notification to Guild

a. Agency shall provide the guild with a copy of the agreement or essential deal terms of any engagement or other transaction involving a client no later than 10 days after the earlier of (i) the existence of a binding contractual commitment; or (ii) the commencement of client’s writing services.

b. Agency shall provide the guild with immediate notice of client’s commencement of services or delivery of literary material, or other material fact triggering compensation, and a copy of any invoice or other documentation relating to the payment obligation.

c. Agency shall provide the guild with copies of all representation agreements with client.

Enforcement of MBA and Client’s Individual Writing Agreements

a. Agency shall not encourage client to violate any provision of the MBA.

b. Agency shall zealously advocate for clients best interests in all aspects of the employment relationship, including but not limited to the following:

1. Advocating against client’s performance of uncompensated or speculative writing services;

2. Advocating in favor of multiple steps in theatrical deals; and

3. Protecting client from abusive hiring practices such as sweepstakes pitching.

c. Agency shall be aware of and monitor the contractual deadline for the payment of all compensation to the client, and shall immediately notify the guild in the event a payment is late.

d. Agency shall cooperate fully with the guild in any investigation or contract enforcement action undertaken on behalf of a client.

e. Agency shall not encourage client to violate any guild rule.

Non-Discrimination and Diversity

a. Agency shall comply with all state and federal anti-discrimination laws in its selection and representation of clients.

b. Agency shall not, without prior disclosure to client, procure any employment where there is a reasonable basis to believe that the client will be subjected to a hostile work environment or other forms of workplace harassment.

c. Agency shall take steps to ensure the referral of qualified diverse writers for any open writing assignment.

d. Agency shall consult with their clients regarding diversity as a factor in their procurement of employment.

e. Agency shall provide the guild with an annual report summarizing agency’s diversity efforts and reflecting, through anonymized data, the employment history of writers represented by the agency, broken down by membership in statutorily­ protected classes.

Enforcement of AMBA

Streamline arbitration process in the AMBA to provide for enforcement of its provisions through expedited arbitration through a sole neutral arbitrator. Enhance penalties for breach of AMBA, including loss of franchise for serious violations. Revise list of approved arbitrators.

Term of AMBA

Term of the new AMBA shall be three years, provided that it shall thereafter renew for one-year periods unless either party gives written notice of termination at least 60 days before the expiration date then in effect.

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The Ol’ SAG Watchdog