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UPDATE: ANA-AAAA Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations

Much has happened since the adoption of the 2006 Extension Agreement with SAG and AFTRA.  This memorandum provides a brief summary.

1.  Waivers.  Two waivers were submitted to the New Media Committee.  One involves digital editing and is still under consideration.  The other waiver involved a limited test of a system to verify commercial airings.  At present, no other waivers have been requested.  If anyone is interested in submitting a waiver with respect to the application of technology to existing media, please let us know by sending an email to my attention (dwood@reedsmith.com).

2.  Compensation Study.  The unions and the JPC are continuing negotiations on finalizing the retention of an independent consultant to prepare a study outlining alternative models to fairly compensate actors while providing for a fair return to advertisers in connection with their investment.  We anticipate announcing the selection and undertaking the study shortly.  Until then, discussions remain confidential.

3.  Seminar.  On April 18, 2007, the JPC conducted a seminar on the Extension Agreement at the Tribecca Theater in New York.  Over 250 people attended.  The seminar was recorded and we will shortly be posting a transcript.  We may also post a video of the seminar, depending upon the resolution of editing issues.

4.  SAG Request for Information Relating to the Spanish Language Contract.  There has been some confusion with respect to requests by SAG with regard to Spanish Language commercials.  You may have received a letter from SAG essentially as follows:

Dear :

The Screen Actors Guild has recently been advised that some producers who are signatory to the Screen Actors Guild Commercials Agreement may have been producing commercials which are not in compliance with the terms and conditions of that Agreement.  Of course, as a signatory, you are required to produce all of your commercials under the terms of the Commercials Agreement.  Furthermore, as a signatory, Section 24.A.4 of that Agreement requires that you not acquire a commercial or any part of a commercial that was produced at rates not substantially equivalent to the economic costs that would have been included under the Commercials Agreement.

In order to ascertain whether there has been any violation of the Commercials Agreement to which you are a signatory, please provide to the undersigned on or before March 9, 2007, a list of all commercials that you have produced or acquired at any time since August 1, 2006, and please indicate whether those commercials were produced under the terms of the SAG Commercials Agreement. In addition, with regard to any commercial that you acquired during that period of time, if that commercial was not produced under the SAG Commercials Agreement, please indicate whether that commercial was produced with substantially equivalent costs and the basis upon which you make any such claim.

Respectfully,

Sandy Kincaid
National Director
Commercials Contracts
Screen Actors Guild

The JPC believes that SAG's request is outside of the spirit of the commercials contract that provides that SAG is entitled to make specific inquiries only when SAG has probable cause to believe that there has been a contract violation.  Ms. Kincaid's letter states only that there are "(S)ome producers who ... may have been producing ... commercials which are not in compliance with ... the Agreement".  Such statements are so general that the recipients of the letter do not know if they are being accused of a violation or if SAG is just doing a survey.

The JPC believes that authorizers should not comply with SAG's request until the JPC has clarified what problem, if any, exists.  The JPC has requested that the matter be placed on the agenda of the next Industry Union Standing Committee meeting where SAG can explain the nature and extent of its problems and the parties can have a discussion leading to a practical solution that will satisfy all concerned.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Doug at dwood@reedsmith.com or Elky at estone@reedsmith.com

5.  Monitoring Study.  The monitoring study undertaken jointly by the unions and the JPC is underway.  At this point, only a test is being conducted and the results will be limited.  We will notify authorizers as this project progresses.

6.  Inquiries.  If you are experiencing problems dealing with the Extension Agreement or have other questions, please feel free to contact Doug Wood or Elky Stone at Reed Smith (dwood@reedsmith.com and estone@reedsmith.com).