This is the fifth in the Screen Actors Guild’s 2008 contract reports. Report #1 discusses middle-income actors, #2 talks about New Media (at end of post), #3 explores residuals, #4 explains general topics. Now #5 focuses on actors clips:

SAG CONTRACT 2008 REPORT
Number 5 — The AMPTP Wants to Use Excerpts From TV Shows and Motion Pictures Without Actor’s Consent on the Internet….And Beyond

May 6, 2008
HERE’S WHAT THE EMPLOYERS ARE ASKING FOR RELATED TO CLIP USE ON NEW MEDIA FORMATS:
·      The right to sell clips from television and their entire library of motion pictures for use on the Internet and other new media formats WITHOUT your consent and without bargaining with you during the term of the agreement. That includes stars, dayplayers, guest stars, etc.

·      While AMPTP companies have limited rights now to use clips for defined promotional purposes (new productions or releases), they are now seeking to reach back into their vaults and release non-promotional clips and sell them for use in various new media platforms. As proposed, they want to use clips from all motion pictures and television shows produced to date– through the future without your consent.

·      Except for agreeing that clips including nudity would not be sold, we have no guarantees about the actual exploitation of these clips. They could be edited, mashed and morphed into anything, anywhere.

·      While the companies have proposed nominal non-negotiable payments for the use, your right to consent and negotiate would be gone if we accept this proposal.

SAG FOUGHT HARD TO GET THE RIGHT FOR ACTOR’S CONSENT FOR CLIP USE
·      For many decades, SAG contracts have provided protections for clip use, giving you the right to refuse to consent to the use, or to negotiate compensation. In fact, if clips without your consent, treble (triple) damages may be due.

·      We understand that employers are looking for new business models to keep up with the technological boom. In fact, we offered to allow actors to consent and negotiate for future clip use at the time they are hired starting in July 2008. But the AMPTP did not agree to our counter proposal.

·      The WGA and DGA did not have consent provisions in their history, so this was not asked of them for their new deals.  AFTRA agreed to remove consent for clip use in the Network Code contract they recently negotiated, but we believe it is a very different story for actors in motion pictures and dramatic television shows covered by SAG contracts.

·      Thousands of actors and actors’ estates receive clip payments on a regular basis, but only after consenting to the specific use in advance.

·      Your images are not only your past they are your future. There are no protections in the AMPTP proposals regarding how and where your image may be used once it is sold.

·      You should have the right to control your own image. Likewise, estates for many of the legends of the past should also retain that historical right of consent and individual negotiation.