Protect Your Likeness

Protect Your Likeness and Image

A Guideline for Guarding Your Reputation and Headshot

We all know a headshot is an essential part of an actor’s job search. It’s like your glossy passport into the industry. As a performer seeking roles, you must constantly provide it—along with certain personal information—to agents, managers and casting directors.

But use caution. Unauthorized strangers with bad intentions can sometimes gain access to your image and information then repurpose, digitally alter, or sell them on the black market without your knowledge. While Screen Actors Guild continues to work with auction giant eBay in an effort to thwart this activity, it wants to offer some fundamental tools that will help protect you and your family. Guard your reputation and keep your confidential information private!

  1. Do not give your Social Security Number (SSN) to anyone unless you have been hired, even if it's being requested. When signing in at an audition or filling out a size card, use your SAG member ID number.
  2. Never put your SSN on your picture or resume.
  3. Wherever possible, use your agent or manager’s phone number and address rather than your personal information. If you cannot use an agent or manager's contact information, consider getting a cellular phone or pager. If you want to include a mailing address, a personal mailbox will work.
  4. To help prevent your photograph and resume from being used inappropriately, include a disclaimer such as the following: “Property of [your name]. For casting purposes only. Not intended for sale or commercial use."
  5. When having headshots taken, ask the photographer to include language in the contract stating that it is a “work for hire.” Otherwise, you do not own the copyright to your photographs (even if the photographer gives you the negative).
  6. Before you submit a picture or resume for any project, you may want to contact the Guild to determine if the project is signatory to the appropriate SAG agreement. You can also check this information online. Go to www.sag.org, log into the members’ only area and click on “Get Work.” Here SAG members can enter a production name and check its signatory status. If it is not a SAG signatory project, the risk of your personal information remaining confidential may be compromised. *Remember, any member accepting employment in a non-signatory project is in violation of SAG’s Rule 1. It is every member’s responsibility to verify signatory status before accepting work. Make no assumptions.
  7. To safeguard against your image or personal information being displayed or sold on the Internet, periodically run a search for you name on eBay and conduct a general search of the Internet using one of the major search engines, such as Yahoo! or Google.
  8. If you choose to promote and market yourself online through the creation of a web site, do not use your personal contact information when registering your domain name. We suggest you follow guideline number three above when deciding what contact information to use.
  9. Like most people these days, you probably use email. We suggest you maintain multiple email addresses for different purposes. For instance, it may be useful to maintain a private email address; a professional email address for agents, casting directors, and managers; a registration email address for registering on a web site that requires your email or at which you can receive general email; and a separate fan email address for fans or the general public.
  10. Always assume your online communications are not private. Do not provide sensitive personal information (phone number, password, address, credit card number, Social Security number, health information, date of birth, vacation dates, etc.) in chat rooms, forums, emails, or in your online biography.
  11. Above all, remember to use common sense and trust your instincts. If you are asked to provide information that you are uncomfortable with, or that seems inappropriate to the situation, think twice before you provide it. If there is doubt, confirm whether it’s necessary with someone in a position of authority.

Following is a partial list of online resources that offer information about protecting your privacy.

For further information regarding fraud please contact: membersbeware@sag.org or 323/549-6806.