LOS ANGELES (Oct. 20, 2009)---The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today praised the signing of a new California State law designed to address the problem of abusive business practices and fraud that plague the advance-fee talent industry.
On October 11, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 1319, Talent Services, which prohibits advance-fee talent services from charging money upfront and then attempting to procure employment for their clients. The new law, which was supported by AFTRA, also divides permissible advance-fee services into three categories (talent listing, talent counseling and talent training services) and enacts stricter regulations for all of them, including the requirement to post a $50,000 bond with the State and mandating the use of contracts that are clear and easy to understand.
“We are extremely pleased that the Governor has signed this bill into law,” said AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “We are proud to have supported this legislation that will greatly benefit both the public and our members who work in the entertainment and media industries. Performers – and young performers, in particular – are especially vulnerable to scam artists and predatory business practices that fraudulently exploit their aspirations and talents. This new law will help regulate the advance-fee talent services that often cause both monetary loss and severe emotional distress to their victims and their families. We applaud State Assembly Member Paul Krekorian for introducing AB 1319, and we express our appreciation to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for working closely with us on this bill to address the concerns of AFTRA members.”
The new law also includes provisions to regulate Internet activities of various businesses (previous advance-fee legislation only covered print), and requires the insertion of language into performer contracts that states these services are not permitted to procure employment for the performer, and that function is limited only to licensed talent agents.
The bill was introduced by Assembly Member Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) in February 2009.