Because of the inherent complexities of agency relations today, SAG-AFTRA has received numerous requests from its members to clarify the current state of affairs, both with respect to its L-SAG franchised agents, and with agents that are affiliated with either the Association of Talent Agents (“ATA”) or the National Association of Talent Representatives (“NATR”) (collectively, “ATA”). ATA agents are no longer L-SAG franchised, although they remain L-AFTRA franchised.
After the April 2002 referendum defeat of the Legacy SAG-ATA proposed agency agreement, Legacy SAG’s National Board unanimously adopted a motion that would 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 enforcement of Section 16(a) of Legacy SAG’s Rules and Regulations which required members who choose to secure the services of an agent, to choose from the pool of agents approved (i.e. franchised) by Legacy SAG. This temporary suspension, however, only applies to ATA agents. Therefore, SAG-AFTRA members may, for the time being, continue to be represented by only two types of agents for L-SAG covered work: those that are franchised under the Legacy SAG rules, or those that are formerly franchised and currently affiliated with the ATA (Please note: all ATA agents remain L-AFTRA franchised).
ATA agents have no legal obligation to abide by the requirements of Rule 16(g), the Legacy SAG Agency Franchise Agreement, and many of them have chosen not to do so. SAG-AFTRA cannot enforce its agency rules against these agencies for Legacy SAG-covered work. Although members are permitted during this interim period to be represented by these formerly L-SAG franchised agents, members are advised not to sign any individual representation agreements presented to them (e.g., “general service agreements,” or “GSAs” or “Stare approved agency contracts”) with these entities without first consulting with their Union, especially if the terms contained therein provide less protection than the Legacy SAG Agency Franchise Agreement.
Most GSAs contain provisions which offer SAG –AFTRA members drastically fewer protections than those in the L-SAG Agency franchise, including, but not limited to, the ability for the agent to commission previously non-commissionable residuals as well as other sources of revenue, and significant alterations in the performer’s ability to terminate his/her agency contract. Members will also note that SAG-AFTRA will not be able to offer its arbitration/mediation services to settle commission or other disputes with these agents for L-SAG covered work since they are no longer under our jurisdiction.
However, if your agents are still franchised under Legacy SAG, then these agents (as well as the SAG-AFTRA members that they represent) continue to be protected by and bound to the terms and conditions of Rule 16(g). Hundreds of Legacy SAG franchised agents across the country have maintained their on-going relationship with SAG-AFTRA, and continue to serve SAG-AFTRA’s members pursuant to the requirements of Rule 16(g). Any standard Legacy SAG agency contract you sign with a Franchised Agency should be filed with, and processed by, the Union.
Should you have any agency-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact SAG-AFTRA’s Professional Representatives departments at: (in LA) (323) 549-6729, or (in New York) at (212) 863-4305, or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please continue to check the SAG-AFTRA web site for updated information on this and any other Union matters. In addition, members resident in the State of California may also contact the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards at (415) 703-4848, if they have any further questions or concerns about a document they have been asked to sign. Members resident in the State of New York may contact the Department of Consumer Affairs, Complaint Division, at (212) 487-4491.