Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Pamm Fair, who joined the Screen Actors Guild staff in 2002 and served as a deputy national executive director, is resigning from the organization effective December 31, 2009. No immediate replacement will be named to her position and Fair remains on staff through the end of the year to transition responsibilities.

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard said, “On behalf of the Guild, I want to thank Pamm for her contributions and service to SAG members and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

National Executive Director David White said, “During her time with the Guild Pamm directed key efforts ranging from communications to high profile outreach. Over the last several years she has been engaged in redefining the Guild’s new media initiatives, organizing efforts and legislative advocacy on key Guild issues. Her contributions to the Guild have been varied and significant and I thank her for her dedicated service. I know I speak for all of us in wishing her continued success in this next phase of her journey.”


Don’t Miss this SAG General Services Agreement Seminar on
“What You Need to Know About Your Agency Contract Before Signing It”
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What: Screen Actors Guild National Agency staff will hold a bi-coastal educational seminar on general service agreements, or GSAs (i.e. the contracts that ATA/NATR agents have been using to represent our members instead of the standard SAG agency contract). These GSA contracts are signed outside of SAG’s protection, and it is imperative that members have a working knowledge of what these contracts say before signing them—your professional future and your income may depend on it. This educational seminar will be especially helpful to any member who is having trouble making sense of the complicated legal language contained in the contracts that their agents have provided them. We urge all SAG members to attend. This event will not be taped.

When: 12-2:30 p.m. (PST) and 3-5:30 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, December 2, 2009

(RSVP required*)

Los Angeles: James Cagney Board Room (first floor), 5757 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Parking will be validated.
New York: NY Boardroom, 360 Madison Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017

Who: The seminar will be conducted by the National Director and Senior Counsel of Agency Relations, Zino Macaluso, and the Senior Agency Manager, Xochitl Cerda, in Los Angeles. Members in New York will participate live via videoconference. We strongly encourage all members who attend to bring a notepad and pen with them to these meetings.

*RSVP: Performers interested in attending should immediately email the Guild’s agency mailbox at Please write SAG GSA Seminar—Reservation in the subject line. YOU MUST ALSO INDICATE IF YOU ARE PARTICIPATING FROM HOLLYWOOD OR NEW YORK. Only those members who have received confirmation emails from SAG may attend, so please act quickly as seating is limited.

Questions about upcoming events should be directed to the SAG Agency Department at (323) 549-6745 (Hollywood) or (212) 827-1445. (Any performer who has to cancel a reservation is asked to notify SAG immediately so that members on the waiting list may be contacted). Thank you. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, December 2, 2009.

All paid-up SAG members in good standing will be able to attend. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).

Sunday, October 25, 2009


AFTRA National Board of Directors Meets for Fall Plenary

Approves Video Game Contract Extension for Affected Member Ratification

LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (October 24, 2009)—The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a national union of more than more 70,000 performers, journalists, broadcasters, recording artists and other talent working in the entertainment and news media, met today by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York.

The AFTRA National Board approved that the tentative agreement with the video game industry for an extension to the AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement, which is currently set to expire on December 31, 2009, be sent out for ratification by a referendum vote of the affected members who perform work under the contract. The Board is sending out the referendum with an overwhelming and strong recommendation for a yes vote on the new terms. The AFTRA Interactive Media Steering Committee, which is made up of members from around the country who work under this agreement, and the AFTRA Administrative Committee previously approved and recommended to the Board the tentative agreement, which was reached with video game employers in early October. If ratified, the 15-month extension will take effect on January 1, 2010, and remain in full force until March 31, 2011.

The extension delivers a 2.5 percent wage increase and a 0.2 percent increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, both effective April 1, 2010, and a new liquidated damages payment provision to incentivize employers to give notice of vocally stressful work – the first-ever such payment under any union contract. The agreement also preserves the extra “Remote Delivery” payment for performers – currently 135 percent of the original session fee – and establishes a new category of performance called “Atmospheric Performer” that will provide the potential for organizing additional work opportunities for union performers.

“AFTRA members pioneered union work under the Interactive Media Agreement in the early 1990s, and today this contract generates millions of dollars in earnings and benefits for thousands of AFTRA members in both large and small markets around the nation,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “As recommended by the Board, it is critical that AFTRA members who work under this agreement and who understand the needs of performers working in video games vote yes to ratify this contract. A yes vote will enable union performers to continue building union density in order to grow their fair share of this multi-billion dollar industry.”

In her report to the Board, AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth announced that the union is moving forward on the internal organizing plan overwhelmingly approved by delegates to the AFTRA National Convention this past summer.

Hedgpeth said, “Anticipating the hard battles ahead in the upcoming 2010 contract negotiations, starting with the Sound Recordings Code which expires on June 30, AFTRA members must work together to build even greater leverage to the confront the challenges in our industries.”

Hedgpeth also reported that the AFTRA Los Angeles Local Unable to Locate (UTL) Fund has paid more than $2 million to more than 3,000 members since 2007. A new tracking system was implemented in September 2008 to help identify and locate members for whom the union receives payments, but is unable to find through standard procedures.

Past National President Shelby Scott, who serves as Union Chair of the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds Board of Trustees, reported that as of September 2009, the Retirement Fund investments are up more than $100 million since she last reported to the Board in August at its face-to-face plenary in Chicago, and the Health Fund has more than a year’s reserves.

In other actions, the Board approved a number of member committee appointments, and received reports from the Finance, Equal Employment Opportunities, Governance and Health and Retirement Issues Committees.

The AFTRA National Board is next scheduled to meet via videoconference plenary session in Los Angeles and New York in February 2010.


Start: 10/26/2009 - 2:00pm
End: 10/27/2009 - 9:00pm

Screen Actors Guild to Hold Ratification Meetings in Four Cities for the Purpose of Voting on the Tentative Deal Between Producers and Screen Actors Guild Regarding the 2009 Interactive Media Agreement

You are invited to attend the following Ratification Meetings to VOTE on the Tentative Agreement reached between the Producers and Screen Actors Guild regarding the 2009 Interactive Media Agreement, which covers video games.

Please inform your fellow union members who work under this agreement about this important meeting. Participation is limited only by fire department regulations.

Date: Monday, October 26, 2009

San Francisco: 2-3:30 p.m. PDT
Regus Center
One Market, Spear Tower, Suite 3600
San Francisco, California 94105
RSVP via email at or by phone at (415) 391-7510
Use of public transportation is recommended for this location

New York: 7-8:30 p.m. EDT
Leon Janney Board Room
360 Madison Ave, 14th floor
New York, NY 10017
RSVP to Courtney Doherty via email at or by phone at (212) 827-1402

Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chicago: 7-8:30 p.m. CDT
McCorkle Court Reporters
200 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60601
RSVP to via email at or by phone at (312) 867-2547

Los Angeles: 7:30-9 p.m. PDT
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
RSVP to Mary Hashimoto via email at or by phone at (323) 549-6453
Parking will be validated.

All paid-up SAG members in good standing can attend. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).

Friday, October 23, 2009


Please note the initiation fee to join the American Federation of Television
and Radio Artists (AFTRA) will increase from the current $1,300 to $1,600 effective November 1, 2009 with the increase to be specifically earmarked for organizing.

They will still offer a payment plan after November 1 of course, but they wanted to make sure that those of you considering AFTRA membership were aware of this scheduled increase.

More info contact: AFTRA

Sunday, October 18, 2009






from SAG's press release:

Los Angeles (October 18, 2009) -- Screen Actors Guild announced today that its National Board of Directors appointed David P. White as National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator. White has been serving as the Guild's Interim National Executive Director since January of this year.

The board approved a two-year contract, by a vote of 70.91% to 29.09% at its national board meeting in Los Angeles this weekend.

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard commented, "I am very pleased that our board has selected David White as National Executive Director. David is a highly skilled professional, with a remarkable ability to listen to the concerns of all sides of complex issues. He is respected by members and staff and I am confident that under his leadership, the Guild will continue building on the achievements he has overseen in the past nine months. We now have six previously open contracts ratified, new cost saving and administrative improvements in place, and innovative initiatives underway. I congratulate David on this position and look forward to working with him during my term as President."

White stated, "I am honored to accept this position and want to thank the National Board, and the many members who have reached out to me, for their support and statements of confidence in my leadership. I particularly want to extend my personal thanks to my colleague John McGuire for stepping up to the plate during this transition.

"We will continue to get our house in order-financially and strategically. I have great confidence in the Guild's ability to navigate the dramatic changes taking place in our industry. Screen Actors Guild has a remarkable history and we look forward to the extraordinary future that we know awaits us."

Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino stated, "Screen Actors Guild is extremely lucky to have David White at the helm for another two years. From his hiring nine months ago, he made it a top priority to make a clear and unflinching assessment of SAG's financial situation, and then he took the difficult and necessary steps to address it. David truly appreciates and admires actors and understands the challenges we face as professionals. His expertise and previous tenure at the Guild make him the perfect choice for this crucial position, and his strategic vision will help SAG thrive as we navigate this critical phase in our history."

SAG veteran executive John McGuire, who was appointed chief negotiator when White came on as interim national executive director, will continue as senior advisor.
Prior to rejoining the Guild staff, where he previously served as General Counsel from 2002 to 2006, White was Managing Principal of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Strategies Group (ESG) providing consulting services to the entertainment industry.

During his tenure as the Guild's General Counsel, White directed the organization's 40-person legal and governance staff, and played a central role in contract negotiations, strategic planning efforts and diversity programs.

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a Rhodes Scholar, White was a labor and employment attorney at O'Melveny & Myers LLP before joining the executive ranks of SAG. Prior to law school, White served as Executive Director of the neighborhood-based, non-profit Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc. He also consulted for the Department of Justice, the Chapin Hall Center for Children (University of Chicago) and a variety of urban development projects in the United States, England and South Africa.

White has been selected as a "Southern California Super Lawyer - Rising Star" and has received numerous other awards for his work and service throughout his career. He is the former Co-Chair of the Sports & Entertainment Labor Law Standing Committee of the American Bar Association. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Grinnell College, and was appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles as a Commissioner for urban area planning and development. White has served on the Board of Advisors for the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Posse Foundation-LA, an organization dedicated to expanding educational and leadership opportunities to students across Los Angeles County.

White has been a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Lawyer and, as a frequent commentator on entertainment industry trends, has been quoted on National Public Radio's "Marketplace," and in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, and other publications.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Los Angeles (October 15, 2009)-Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today that the AFTRA Administrative Committee and Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors have approved an 18-month extension to the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract and AFTRA Code of Fair Practice for Non Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Recorded Material. The contracts, which were set to expire on Oct. 29, 2009, will now be effective Nov. 1, 2009, to April 30, 2011.

In addition to the extended term, the agreement includes a 0.5% increase in employer contributions to the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension and Health Plans and AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, effective Nov. 1, 2009, and an important clarification that work produced under the contracts is not and never has been intended for the production of commercials.

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard said, “These contracts are critical to our members across the country and extending them gives us the opportunity to strategize ways to increase covered work under the agreements. The successful extension of the Industrial and Educational Contract directly reflects the continued importance of joint bargaining and allows our members to continue to work under a fair contract for the next year and a half, and with a bump to their pension and health.”

Roberta Reardon, AFTRA National President praised the extension saying: “Work under the Non-Broadcast/Industrial Code rarely grabs headlines or elevates performers to celebrity status. It does something far more important: it provides steady employment for thousands of union members in small and large markets across the nation. This extension will keep our members working, increase their opportunities to qualify for health and retirement benefits and will permit our unions the opportunity to organize more work for more members under this contract.”

“We’re glad to have achieved this extension jointly with AFTRA and look forward to joint negotiations again on the Industrial and Educational Contract in 2011,” said Ray Rodriguez, the Screen Actors Guild deputy national executive director who oversees contracts.

“The increase in employer contributions to our health and retirement plans, along with the confirmation by the industry that the Non-Broadcast Code cannot be used for commercial production are important achievements in this extension agreement,” said Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., Chief Negotiator for AFTRA.

The extension agreement was negotiated by both unions under the terms of the AFL-CIO facilitated Joint Commercials Contracts Negotiating Agreement, which governs the bargaining and administration of the 2009-2012 Commercials contracts, and was expanded earlier this summer to cover the 2009 negotiation of the AFTRA Non-Broadcast/Industrial Contract and the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract. The Chief Negotiator for the Industry Lee W. Gluckman Jr., who represented the employers in the negotiations said, “This extended agreement will quite beneficial to producers and their clients in growing production. The ‘no commercials here’ clarification is also an important addition to the contract.”

The SAG and AFTRA contracts cover performers rendering on-camera and voiceover services in sales programs, educational and training videos, informational and promotional messages seen in stores and video included in certain consumer products, and other projects that are exhibited outside of the traditional broadcast arena (with AFTRA’s contract also covering audio-only content, such as telephone messages and sound included in consumer products).



October 15, 2009

Carol Lombardini named President of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers

Veteran negotiator Carol Lombardini has been named President of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the industry’s bargaining representative in labor negotiations with the motion picture industry Guilds and Unions in the United States and Canada.

Lombardini has played an instrumental role in the more than 300 major Guild and Union contracts negotiations over the course of her 27-year career at AMPTP. As AMPTP President, Lombardini will serve as the industry’s chief negotiator on more than 80 industry-wide collective bargaining agreements on behalf of over 350 motion picture and television producers.



2009 National Membership Meeting October 18 and
Important Information about the Commercials Contract

[1] Join us at the 2009 National Membership Meeting, Saturday, October 18

[2] Important Information about The Commercials Contract

In observance of Columbus Day, Screen Actors Guild will be closed Monday, October 12.

[1] Join us at the 2009 National Membership Meeting, Saturday, October 18

Come be heard at the 2009 National Membership Meeting.

When: Saturday, October 18, 2009
2-3 p.m. – Mixer with national board, staff and members, visit Committee tables, sign-up for speakers list for an opportunity to speak at the microphone during the open forum section of meeting
3-6 p.m. – Meeting/Q&A

Where: Beverly Hills Ballroom at The Beverly Hilton
9876 Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Parking: Parking will be validated. Please read all posted signage. Guild is not responsible for illegally parked vehicles.


· Reports by President Ken Howard, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and Interim National Executive Director David White

· Find out about SAG member events and activities

· Purchase merchandise

· Register for SAG 24/7 and iActor®

No RSVP necessary. For more information call (323) 549-6447 or email

The membership meeting is only open to paid-up SAG members in good standing. Unfortunately, no guest allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).

[2] Important Information about The Commercials Contract

Did you know?

You may have noticed the rapidly changing pace of the industry and of technology itself. It seems like every week a commercial breakdown comes out with new terminology in it that makes you question which Screen Actors Guild contract the job falls under. In an effort to clarify some commonly used terms and how they apply to the Commercials Contract, we have chosen two areas of discussion that we, the SAG staff, get questions on every day. We hope you find them useful.


The term “webisode” is used to describe content that is made for and airs specifically on the Internet. For the framework of this discussion, the terms “webisode” and “web content” will be applied specifically to commercials and ad-related content. A webisode is a one-off commercial for an advertiser or a web series created for a long term campaign. A webisode or web content for an advertiser may or may not feature a product. Ad campaigns with overtly entertainment-based content and no typical commercial message are known as “branded entertainment” or “branded content.” With branded content, an advertiser attempts to link its product or service with a wider audience by adding another creative layer to its brand marketing strategy. Sometimes the advertiser will create a microsite–a webpage separate from the advertiser’s homepage that may have a different domain name – on which to air the webisode(s), so at first there may appear to be no direct link to the advertiser. Branded content/entertainment is financed by the advertiser. Under the Commercials Contract, a webisode can be anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes in length. Any web content of significant length is evaluated by SAG staff to determine whether it falls under the Commercials Contract or the Industrial & Educational Contract. SAG has had jurisdiction over Internet commercials since 2000.


The term “mobisode” was originally coined to define television episodes that were reformatted for mobile devices/cell phones and for episodic content created specifically for mobile devices/cell phones. This term has expanded to include commercials and/or branded entertainment shown on mobile devices. Under the Commercials Contract, new media is defined as “digital, electronic, or any other type of delivery platform including, but not limited to, commercials delivered to mobile phones and other digital and electronic media. The term new media is intended to be all inclusive of digital, electronic or any other type of delivery platform, whether now known or unknown.” Please be aware that for commercials, the term new media does not apply to commercials on the Internet. A commercial that is available for viewing by using the web browser on a BlackBerry would be considered Internet use. A commercial that pops up on a cell phone via a digital network available only from a particular wireless provider (i.e., Verizon) would be considered new media use. SAG has had jurisdiction over new media commercials since 2006.

Questions? Please contact the Commercials Contract Department: Los Angeles (323) 549-6858 / New York (212) 827-1454

Monday, October 12, 2009


Jonathan Handle reports on the on-going lawsuit filed by ex-President Alan Rosenberg and current VP Anne Marie Johnson against The Screen Actor's Guild.

Alan Rosenberg is no longer president of SAG, nor even a national board member, but his lawsuit against his own union drags on pointlessly. Believe it or not, he’s still trying to undo Doug Allen’s firing, the appointment of David White, the ratification of the TV/theatrical contract and, no doubt, the discovery of a new ring around Saturn. That last is probably a particularly bitter blow for the ex-president.

Rosenberg and his fellow Membership First plaintiffs 1st VP Anne-Marie-Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord might see some reason to continue the charade, but the Court of Appeal is apparently more skeptical: in a one-paragraph letter to counsel last week, the court asked both sides’ lawyers to be prepared to discuss at oral argument whether the appeal is moot, given that the SAG board reaffirmed Allen’s dismissal and White’s appointment, and the membership at large ratified the TV/theatrical agreement.

Read more HERE at Digital Media Law.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009




Join Screen Actors Guild at the National Equality March

Washington D.C., October 10-11, 2009

Please join SAG members, staff, allies and National Chairs Jason Stuart and Chad Tyler of the SAG National LGBT Actors Committee, as we gather in the nation’s capital to let elected leaders know that now is the time for full federal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Please let us know if you’re planning to attend the National Equality March: Email us at and please put ‘DC March’ in the subject line.

Saturday No-Host Meet-and-Greet

6 - 8 p.m., Saturday Oct. 10

Nellie’s Sports Bar

900 U Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 332-NELL (6355)

METRO: Green Line U St / Shaw

(1 block away from the U Street African American War Memorial Metro Station)

Sunday March with SAG LGBT Actors Committee, SAG Members, Staff & Allies

Meet and assembly time: 11 a.m. - noon Sunday, October 11

Noon: March

We will assemble at the statue of David G. Farragut in the center of the

Farragut Square Park (click for map)

(Nearest Metro stops are Farragut West and Farragut North)

Look for the Screen Actors Guild banner.

Once we have all gathered, we will proceed to the march route a few blocks away.

To get updates on the march and other events that day, please let us know if you plan to attend by sending an email to and put ‘DC March’ in the subject line.

For New York City Area Members:

Marriage Equality NY (MENY) is organizing buses and buses/hotels from New York City metro area to Washington, D.C.

Please contact for full info, to volunteer, to donate, etc.

For more information about the National Equality March and related events:

Click to download PDF file of the march route and click to download a large map of the DC area.




SAG Division Elections Held in Hollywood and New York
Hollywood Board of Directors Re-elects Anne-Marie Johnson 1st Vice President;
New York Board of Directors Elects Mike Hodge 2nd Vice President
Los Angeles (Oct. 7, 2009) – The Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Division Board of Directors and New York Division Board of Directors elected the union’s 1st vice president and 2nd vice president on Monday. The Hollywood Division Board re-elected by acclamation Anne-Marie Johnson to the position of 1st vice president of Screen Actors Guild. The 1st vice president also serves as chair of the Hollywood Division Board. The New York Division Board elected Division President Mike Hodge to the position of 2nd vice president.

1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson said, “I am honored to have been re-elected 1st vice president of the Screen Actors Guild and I hope to continue to help lead with honesty, inclusion and determination. We are and will be facing extraordinary challenges and it is my responsibility, as SAG’s 1st V.P., to do my best to continue to put the concerns and well being of SAG members first.

“I would again like to thank and express my deepest appreciation to Alan Rosenberg for his tireless dedication and love for this union, and to Connie Stevens for her hard work on behalf of the members. I look forward to serving alongside President Ken Howard, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and the newly elected and returning SAG board members. For the union’s sake, I hope we find that we have more in common with regard to the future of the Screen Actors Guild than it may appear.”

New York Division President and 2nd Vice President Mike Hodge said, “I’m excited and looking forward to a year of very productive volunteering. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I think we can make some real progress this year.”

Johnson is a 25-year SAG member who has served the Guild on the Hollywood Division and National boards over the course of the last decade. She is an accomplished film and television actor and has starred in several successful television series, including In The Heat of the Night, What’s Happening Now, In Living Color and Melrose Place. Johnson co-starred as Donna Cabonna on The Disney Channel’s hit television series That’s So Raven, and for five seasons she portrayed Congresswoman Bobbie Latham on CBS’ hit military drama JAG.

Johnson appeared for two seasons on the hit UPN comedy Girlfriends as “Sharon Upton Farley.” Her feature film credits include L.A. Riots Spectacular, Hollywood Shuffle, Strictly Business, I’m Gonna Git U Sucka, Robotjox, True Identity, Down in the Delta, Pursuit of Happiness and Legacy of A Hit Man.

Johnson has served three prior terms as 1st national vice president and has also served as chair of the SAG National Ethnic Employment Opportunity, Communications and Legislative committees.

Hodge has been on the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors for nine years. As a national director, he has served as New York Division secretary and vice president. As a member of the New York Division Legislative Committee, he testified before the New York City Council in the successful effort to get city tax incentives and furthered lobbying efforts at the New York State Legislature. (The additional incentives have been significantly responsible for the growth of television and film production in the city and state.) He has also been a part of the Guild Governance, Communications and Negotiations committees. Hodge’s acting has included guest-starring roles in television with recurring work on Law and Order and Fringe, as well as film, commercial and stage work, including four Broadway shows.

The Regional Branch Division will elect the 3rd national vice president at its next two-day board meeting October 15 and 16.





AFTRA, as a founding member of the Copyright Alliance, is joining a grassroots network of creators to circulate among those in the arts and entertainment community nationwide a letter to President Obama and Vice President Biden, asking the Administration to pursue policies supportive of the rights of artists.

"I urge our members and supporters to join creators nationwide to ensure the creative work of American performers continue to receive protection from theft and exploitation," said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. "By upholding copyright protection, creators will have the ability to earn a living from their work and talent which further enriches American culture and the world.”

There has been a rapid internal response to the letter, which within a few days of circulation among the Alliance's grassroots network garnered nearly 7,000 electronic signatures. With artists encouraging participation within their personal networks on blogs and Twitter feeds, the letter already has been signed by creators in all 50 states and representing a full spectrum of creative disciplines.

"Artists and creators make important contributions not only to our society and culture, but also to our economy," said Lucinda Dugger, the Alliance's Director of Outreach. "Increasingly, creators are finding their work misappropriated, reproduced and distributed without their knowledge, consent or benefit by those who believe intellectual property should be free for the taking. It is important that creators speak up about their works and how the principle of copyright empowers and provides incentive for creators to earn a living with their talents and ideas."

Signers include authors, photographers, songwriters, graphic designers, filmmakers, musicians, publishers, jewelry designers, web designers, photojournalists, illustrators, video game developers, architects, cartoonists, composers, playwrights, voice actors, animators, sculptors, painters and videographers.

Creative works are a key contributor to America's economy. In 2007, copyright industries in the U.S. contributed $1.52 trillion to the nation's GDP. They employed over 11 million workers and represented over 43 percent of the U.S. economy's total real growth between 2006 and 2007. [Source: Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy, the 2003-2007 Report; Stephen E. Siwek, Economists Inc. for the International Intellectual Property Alliance].

"We believe the Obama Administration understands and values the important contributions creators make in our society," said Copyright Alliance Executive Director Patrick Ross. "The appointment of Victoria Espinel to the position of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator was a strong sign by the Administration that it believes in the importance of creators' rights and seeing those rights are enforced here and abroad. But there is much more that needs to be done, such as ensuring Ms. Espinel has the tools and resources to do her job and receives the cooperation she needs from key officials throughout the Administration. We'll be watching with optimism."

AFTRA, along with the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) joined together on Sept. 25 to support Obama's nomination of Espinel.

Individuals interested in signing the letter can do so at The Alliance intends to deliver the letter to the Administration later this fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009



Los Angeles (October 2, 2009) - Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today announced they have reached tentative agreements with video game companies on new contracts. The agreements -- which become effective upon ratification and remain in full force until March 30, 2011 - achieve parity between the AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild contracts and include contemporaneous expiration dates of March 30, 2011.

In addition, the contracts deliver a 3 percent wage increase upon ratification for SAG, thereby bringing SAG's wages into parity with AFTRA's, and another 2.5 percent increase on April 1, 2010, for both unions. Both pacts contain increases in benefit contributions and a liquidated damages provision to incentivize employers to give notice of vocally stressful work.

The contracts also establish a new category of performance for "atmospheric voices" that is designed to increase work opportunities for union performers by allowing Producers the flexibility to record multiple minor character voices in a single session. The agreements also establish a cap of $125,000 on contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement and SAG Pension and Health funds. The cap will only apply to performers who are paid more than $125,000 by a single producer in a single year for work done on the same game franchise.

The tentative agreements must be approved by Screen Actors Guild's National Board of Directors and the AFTRA Administrative Commitee, both of which will meet in the coming weeks.

Highlights of these agreements include:

* The achievement of parity between the SAG and AFTRA contracts including contemporaneous expiration on March 30, 2011.
* A 3% wage increase for Screen Actors Guild members upon ratification and additional 2.5% increase on April 1, 2010, for both unions.
* A .5% increase in the pension and health contribution rate for Screen Actors Guild member effective upon ratification and another .2% on January 1, 2010, for both unions (bringing the total rate to 15%).
* The establishment of a $100 liquidated damage for failure to give notice of vocally stressful work.
* An agreement to develop during the term of the contract a set of guidelines for conducting vocally stressful work.