This SAG arrived in the Ol’ Watchdog e-mailbox today! Watchdog comments are highlighted.
July 29, 2004
What Every Member Needs To Know About Directing Residuals To His/Her Agent
As you may know, after the referendum defeat of the SAG-ATA proposed agency agreement in April 2002, SAG’s national board unanimously adopted a motion designed to allow all represented performers to continue pursuing their career objectives with the least amount of disruption possible. To that end, the board voted to temporarily suspend application of Section 16(a) of the SAG Constitution, requiring members to secure an agent from a list of SAG-approved (franchised) agents.
This of course was all done at the urging of CEO Bob Pisano, and has been perpetuated by DIFFIDENT Restore Respect Board Members! Thanks to their Diffidence, TEMPORARY SUSPENSION, has evolved into OVER TWO YEARS!
What does this national board action mean to you?
It means to me that a bunch of diffident, fearful Restore Respect Board members have put us all in jeopardy of losing our right to protect ourselves by franchising agents!
It means there are some talent agencies that are no longer franchised by Screen Actors Guild, that may nonetheless continue to represent SAG members for the time being.
“For the time being” meaning unless, and until, we vote Melissa and the “DIFFIDENTS” out of office.
These are agents who are members of either the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) or the National Association of Talent Representatives (NATR). Members may currently be represented either by SAG franchised agents or ATA/NATR agents. ATA/NATR agents have no legal obligation to abide by the requirements of Rule 16(g), a/k/a the SAG Agency Regulations, and many of them have chosen not to do so.
Right? Oh, and what our current Diffident Leadership fails to mention is that although ATA/NATR Agents have no legal obligation to abide by Rule 16(g) SAG has a legal right to enforce its ruling that SAG Members can only be represented by franchised agents!
SAG cannot enforce its agency rules against ATA/NATR agencies.
More BS from our current double talking, diffident Leadership! Supreme Court ruling: H. A. Artists & Assocs., Inc. v. Actors’ Equity Assn. No. 80-348 Argued March 23, 1981 Decided May 26, 1981 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS 451 U.S. 704 states that actor’s unions such as SAG, have the legal right to enforce rules “prohibiting union members from using an agent who has not obtained a license from the union!” So, yes SAG can enforce its rules against ATA/NATR agencies! Rules like “Either they sign up or they can’t represent our members!” Yikes, I can just hear diffident Restore Respect Member Jamie Cromwell saying that sort of thinking is neither “reasonable, nor rational!”
Although members can be represented by these formerly franchised agents, members are advised not to sign any contracts (i.e. “general service agreements” or “GSAs”) with these groups of agents without first consulting the Guild, especially if the terms contained in those agreements provide less protection than the SAG Agency Regulations.
Consult? And what will they do? They’ll diffidently tell you get a lawyer!
Because ATA/NATR agencies have chosen to no longer be regulated by SAG, the nature of some of the services the Guild is able to provide these agents has also changed. For instance, most GSAs contain provisions that offer SAG members drastically fewer protections than those in the Agency franchiseincluding the ability to commission previously non-commissionable residuals and other sources of revenue. Since SAG has determined that GSAs undermine the stability of its agency regulations and ultimately harm performers, SAG cannot endorse the promotion of these contracts.
Whoa! What a stand! “They ain’t gonna endorse the promotion of these contracts!” Talk about a set of cajones!.
Also, although SAG members are free to enter into these agreements with their ATA/NATR agents (and possibly pay additional commissions as a result), SAG can no longer honor member requests to forward all of their residuals to an ATA/NATR agent (e.g. by utilizing SAG’s traditional residual update form).
That’s no surprise! They certainly didn’t honor the memberships referendum “request” to franchise ATA/NATR agents–without giving into their Conflict of Interest provision. Gosh! So, now the “Diffidents” agree to get tough– and not send residuals to the Agents! I suppose we should be encouraged by this small gesture of defiance! And perhaps, we might even praise this small step if only those presenting it to us, didn’t try and justify their 2 years of inaction with more BS! Hey,It ain’t a bad idea! Unfortunately, I’m afraid that at this point stronger, more decisive action is needed! This residual thing is simply too little too late!
Please note: This action on behalf of our members does not affect standard SAG check authorizations that you sign for your agents on a job-per-job basis (provided the area of commission requested in those forms otherwise conforms to SAG guidelines). Rather, SAG’s actions are meant solely to protect our members’ interests and reflect a policy decision. The Guild is not attempting to pass judgment on the legality of the GSAs or their usage.
More evasive double talk! There is no debate about the legality of GSAs! If SAG DIFFIDENTS really wanted to protect its members interest, it would do the same thing our DISSIDENT Founding Fathers did over Sixty years ago! They would give ATA/NATR agents an ultimatum: Either sign a franchise agreement, or SAG will exercise its Supreme Court right to restrict you from representing SAG members. Oooops! Sorry Jamie there I go again being neither “reasonable, nor rational.”
The Guild will continue to update you with new information, as necessary. Members are also strongly encouraged to periodically review the SAG website at www.sag.org for any new developments. Should you have any agency-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact SAG’s Agency Departments at: (in L.A.) 323/549-6745, or (in New York) at 212/827-1438, or by e-mail at: email@example.com
Yep, go to the SAG Website for any new developments. Ah, that is any new developments that aren’t, ah, confidential—and won’t reflect badly on CEO Bob, his senior staff, Melissa and her DIFFIDENTS! Ahhhh, you ain’t seen anything on there lately about how the Restore Respect Controlled board voted for an unconstitutional waiver giving themselves up to three months to pay their dues have you? Ooops! I forgot that’s confidential!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief