MEMBERS: Don’t DARE Download the New Logo from the SAG-AFTRA Website!
Instead of looking for actual misuse and infringement, Pamela Greenwalt, the Assistant National Exective Director, Communications, and the legal department at SAG-AFTRA have decided to take preemptive measures and fire off a terse, impersonal missive to dues paying members who downloaded the brand new logo from the sagaftra.org website. Read the letter. Rather than being phrased in the manner of an inquiry, it assumes bad faith and makes demands.
While anyone on the entire planet can go to Google images to find several websites hosting much higher resolution image files of the new logo than the small one offered by SAG-AFTRA, and instantly download it to their computer without filling out a form, reading a batch of legalese, or agreeing to any terms and conditions –then do whatever they please unbeknownst to all — Pamela Greenwalt has chosen to spend her handsomely paid time ($217,804.00 in 2012) chastising members of the union. Simply for possessing an image file of their own union’s logo. Without one iota of evidence of use or misuse. Policing infringement which doesn’t even exist. (Like in that Stallone film where he arrests people for future crimes.) How is this not offensive to members? How is this a wise expenditure of time and money?
Listen, I fully understand how copyright enforcement works. When an incidence of infringement is discovered, it must be swiftly met with an inquiry, warning, or request for immediate removal by the copyright holder. That’s clearly not what has occurred here.
“You represent and warrant that you… are a freelance news reporter…”
Bloggers certainly qualify as freelance news reporters. Nicki Finke of Deadline would agree, as would Matt Drudge and Arianna Huffington. Apparently, Pamela Greenwalt conveniently forgot that I am both the cofounder of this blog, SAG Watchdog in 2003 with Arlin Miller, and the founder and operator of SAGactor.com since 1999. To ignore this fact and assume that I had “downloaded the logo in error” is erroneous and offensive. It also bears mentioning that both of these sites are widely known and frequented by staff members at SAG and AFTRA for many years, as well as journalists from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
No member of the union should have received that e-mail.
So, this also raises the question: Are dues paying members of this union not allowed to possess an image of their union’s logo on their own computer!? Not allowed to use it on their own website to display their loyal membership in the union? After all: Who paid for it? I don’t know how much they paid for it, but they paid too much. It’s goddam ugly. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Read the comments on this site. Actually, I think the estate of the late, great Freddie Mercury is who should be suing SAG-AFTRA for infringement, n’est-ce pas?
A Systemic Problem That’s Growing Worse
This policy, and the manner in which Pamela Greenwalt has chosen to implement it, are very bad. It’s another symptom of a growing systemic problem at the new union. Members aren’t treated as shareholders, they’re treated like outsiders. I would like to remind every staff member at SAG-AFTRA:
You don’t work for David White. You don’t work for Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. You work for the members, like me, whose dues collectively pay your salary. We are the reasons why you have a job to begin with.
In the former Screen Actors Guild, most staff members fully understood this. Now, while many more of them are quite handsomely compensated, there seems to be a pervasive lack of loyalty to the membership, and strong allegiance to their corporate superiors. It consistently shows in their attitudes and behavior. Too many treat members as if they’re doing them a favor, and I’m sick of it. Several departments need re-training from the top down.
I was a voting National Board member of the former Screen Actors Guild who voted to hire Doug Allen as National Executive Director at the plenary in 2007. He brought Pamela in as the guild’s Executive Director for Communications on February 27, 2007. I served on the Hollywood Board of Directors during the 2006-2007 year, and on several committees in the years before and after.
Okay, okay, I know the Ol’ Dog don’t get many ‘Hot’ stories like trade paper icons such as Variety‘sMcNary or the Reporter‘s Handel, BUT once in a while…welllll!
So, anyway I was watching the congressional hearings the other day and it dawned on me that “Hey, I know that four star general testifying but his name ain’t Dempsey, it’s, why. it’s Whitey from the Bowery Boys!” Look, I was going to dazzle you with all sorts of scenarios to prove my point, but, but, but…better I put just one question to you” “Ah, have you ever seen them together…?”
Yikes! Anyway, if I’m on to something don’t be surprised if my next post comes to you from Hong-Kong!
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
PS: But seriously, folks, The Ol’ Dog is a big fan of The Bowery Boys and “Whitey,” Billy Benedict. If you’re interested in their films you can find them on the Internet. And as a matter of fact, I saw one of their last films “Dig That Uranium” on TCM not long ago. Speaking of Uranium, you see that’s one of my theories. Whitey got a high dose of the stuff and…huh? Sorry folks I got to go it’s time for my meds.
The Great Screen Actors Guild has had a long and honorable history from the First SAG President Ralph Morgan, up and until the last Ken Howard! But, now SAG is a single entity no more. It has been knifed in the back by a group of SAG politicians, including the current SAG President, who have pursued a path of least resistance! Instead of standing up for SAG actors by enforcing SAG’s hard earned jurisdiction, Ken, and his gang of least resistance “Unite For Strength,” meekly stood idly by while AFTRA poached it.
This was done successfully by a group of UFS “go along, to get along” board members and SAG staff (helped by eager producers) with a nefarious agenda to unite the two unions (AFTRA and SAG) at any cost pursuing the demise of the Screen Actors Guild.
So to the question at hand, who will go down as the best president in SAG history? Well, it will come as no surprise that the OL’ Dog says Ralph Morgan, not only because he was one of those brave character actors who founded the Great Screen Actors Guild at great professional risk, but because he unselfishly gave up his position to a better known actor for guild credibility purposes.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ken Howard, The SAG President who actively pursued the demolition of the Great Screen Actors Guild, and unfortunately succeeded. My prediction is that the day will come when struggling actors sit around lamenting the demise of the great union, residuals, and the long gone days when the mid range actor could make a livable wage.
They will look at all the great SAG presidents with admiration, while disdaining those few who tried to sell them out, and the one who finally succeeded, KEN HOWARD.