Here is the text of a letter, misspellings, inaccuracies, typos and all faithfully reproduced with underlining, bolding and italics, that LA Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert sent to casting directors, dated April 20th, 2010. It is here for your review. Imagine how a casting director might feel receiving this letter out of the blue, leading with little information before launching right into the $10,000 fine and an incorrect assertion of the potential length of jail time (under Remedies, Article 4, the law states one year, not six months.)
City Hall East
200 N. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
[City of Los Angeles Letterhead header]
CARMEN A. TRUTANICH
April 20, 2010
Recently it has come to the attention of this Otfice that you, or a member oi your staff, may have been featured at what is commonly referred to as a “casting workshop.”
The purpose of this ietter is to place you on notice that new laws regulating the talent service industry (known as “The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009”) became effective January 1, 2010. These iaws affect a broad range ot businesses, inciuding casting workshops.
A willful violation of any provision by a taient service, its owner, officer, agent, director, agent or employee is punishable as a misdemeanor, with a maximum penaity for each offense of six months in county iaii and a fine of $10,000 (See Labor Code §1704.)
Please note that the talent service itself is not the onty potential offender: A person who aids and abets a violation of this statute is also criminally liable. (See Penai Code §31).
This notice is being sent to other casting directors, associates and representatives, and to motion picture studios, among others, to ensure industry-wide understanding ot the new laws and to obtain maximum compliance, Your selection as a recipient of this letter is not necessarily indicative of any wrongful past conduct.
OVERVIEW OF “KREKOREAN TALENT SCAM PREVENTION ACT:
The “Krekorian TaIent Scam Prevention Act” is available in it’s entirely at www.leginfo.ca.gov. First, click on “California Law.” Then click on “Labor Code.”
Then scroil down on the right to Sections 1?01 through 1705.
The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009 divides the fee-related talent service industry into four (4) categories:
(1) Advance Fee Talent Representation Services —> Now Prohibited
(2) Talent Training Services —> Permitted, must comply with reguiaiions
(3) Talent Counseling Services -> Permitted, must comply with regulations
(4) Talent Listing Services —> Permitted, must compiy with regutations
I. Advance Fee Talent Representation Service:
An “Advance Fee Talent Representation Service” is iiiegal.
Labor Code §1702 states:
“No person shalt own, operate, act in the capacity of, advertise, soiicit for, or knowingly refer a person to an advance~fee taient representation service.”
“Person” means an individuai, company, society, firm, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, trust, or other organization.”
(See Labor Code §1701(e))
An Advance~Fee Taient Representation Service is defined in Labor Code §1702.1:
“(a) ‘Advance~fee talent representation service’ means a person who provides or offers to provide, or advertises or represents itself as providing, an artist, directiy or by referral to another person, with one or more of the foliowing services described beiow,
provided that the person charges or receives a fee from or on behalf of an artist for photographs, Internet Web sites, or other reproductions or other promotional materials as an artist; lessons, coaching, seminars, workshops, or similar training for an artist; or for one or more of the foilowing services:
(1) Procuring or attempting to procure an employment opportunity or an engagement as an artist.
(2) Procuring or attempting to procure an audition for an artist.
(3) Managing or directing the development of an artist’s career.
(4) Procuring or attempting to procure a taient agent or talent manager, including an associate, representative, or designee of a talent agent or taient manager.
(b) “Advance~fee talent representation service” also means a person who charges or receives a fee from, or on behalf of, an artist for any product or service required for the artist to obtain, from or through the person, any of the services described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inciusive, of subdivision (a).”
“Audition” is defined in Labor Code §1701(b):
“’Audition’ means any activity for the purpose of obtaining employment, compensated or not, as an artist whereby an artist meets with, interviews or performs before, or displays his or her talent before, any person, including a producer, a director, or a casting director, or an associate, representative, or designee of a producer, director, or casting director, who has, or is represented to have, input into the decision to select an artist for an empioyment opportunity. An “audition” may be in-person or through eiectronic means, iive or recorded, and may include a performance or other display of the artist’s promotional materials.”
Consequently, if a casting workshop quaiities as an “Advance Fee Talent Representation Service,” it would be an uniavvful business.
Please be assured that a casting workshop’s disclaimer that it is not for the purpose of obtaining empioyment, or that the workshop is not an “audition” is not controlling.
Factors that may indicate a workshop is indeed for the purpose ot obtaining employment (as opposed to a training event) includes whether the actor provides his/her headsnot or other promotional materials for the casting person to keep (unnecessary for a pure teaching or counseiing experience), the manner in which the Workshop itself is conducted and/or the workshops advertising, for example:
“We want to give a shout out to 5 performers who got cast from our workshop”
“Jane Doe Casting will be here, currently casting for (name of SHOW)”
“Meet Casting Director John Doe who says: ‘Last year we used 100 workshop actors.”
ll. OTHER TALENT SERVICES:
Even if the workshop does not qualify as a “advance fee taient representation service” it may stiil be required to comply with the provisions set forth in Labor Code §1703, which applies to talent training services, talent counseling services and talent listing services.
Labor Code §1701(j) “Talent training service” means a person who, for a fee from, or on behalf of, an artist, provides or offers to provide, or advertises or represents itself as providing, an artist, directly or by referral to another person, with lessons, coaching, seminars, workshops, or simiiartraining as an artist.”
Labor Code §1701(f): “Talent counseling service” means a person who does not manage or direct the development of an artist’s career and who, for a fee from, or on behalf of, an artist, provides or offers to provide, or advertises or represents itself as providing, that artist, directiy or by referrai to another person, with career counseling, vocational guidance, aptitude testing, or career evaluation as an artist.”
Labor Code §1701(g) “Talent listing service” means a person who, for a fee from, or on behaif of, an artist, provides or offers to provide, or advertises or represents itself as providing, an artist, directiy or by referrai to another person, with any of the following:
(1) A list of one or more auditions or empioyment opportunities.
(2) A iist of taient agents or talent managers, including an associate, representative, or designee thereof.
(3) A search, or providing the artist with the ability to perform a self-directed search, of any database for an audition or employment opportunity, or a database of talent agents or talent managers, or an associate, representative, or designee thereof.
(4) Storage or maintenance for distribution or disclosure to a person represented as offering an audition or employment opportunity, or to a talent agent, talent manager, or an associate, representative, or designee ot a talent agent or talent manager, of either of the following: (A) an artist’s name, photograph, Internet Web site, filmstrip, videotape, audition tape, demonstration reel, resume, portfolio, or other reproduction or promotionai materiai of the artist or (B) an artist’s schedule ot availability for an audition or employment opportunity.”
If the casting workshop qualifies as either one of tnese services, it must file a $50,000 bond with the Labor Commissioner, comply with various contract provisions, make refunds and permit cancellation under specified conditions, comply with advertising requirements, maintain and provide designated records to law enforcement and refrain from enumerated prohibited acts. If you would like to obtain a copy of my ietter to taient services explaining in more detail about these requirements, please send an email to email@example.com.
In conclusion, all appropriate efforts snould be made to ensure fuli compliance with the requirements of state law described above. The City Attorney’s Office is monitoring the taient service industry closely, and reserves the right to take any criminal or civil enforcement action necessary to abate and punish violations of these laws.
Please understand that public prosecutors are not authorized to provide private legal counsel, such as reviewing or approving the operation of a particuiar talent service.
Very truly yours,
CARMEN A. TRUTANICH
Los Angele City Attorney
Deputy City Attorney
Consumer Protection Section
NOTE: Feel free to share your thoughts about this letter, its tone and makeup in the comments below.