Is your agent legit? That’s a great question and one many in the porn industry need to know the answer to.
It’s really not all that complicated to become what appears to be a legit agency, so how do you know if your agent is the real deal?
First thing to know is that every agent must be licensed to do business in the state they are seeking to book you for work in. So if they are going to book you scenes in Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas and New York, that means they need 4 different licenses (one for each different state).
If a person books you for work without a valid license, your contract with them in not valid, so it is in the agent’s best interest to be above board or they risk looking your booking fees.
Let’s look at the state of California. 101 Modeling is a well known talent agency out in LA. Are they legal? Well a quick search of the talent agency license database, shows us they in fact are. They are legally licensed to do business in the state of California as an agent under license number TA-130875.
Sometimes a company will change names or have to have their license re-issued for one reason or another and if that is the case they might sometimes have a -1 or -2 or even a -3 at the end. That simply means their license has change X number of times (ie: TA-130875-1). But in the end, the only number you really care about is that main number, 130875.
A legit agent should provide you this information if you ask. They have no reason not to tell you their license number. In fact, it should be on the agency’s official website. If it is not, you need to ask yourself, why is it not?
No person shall engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency without first procuring a license therefor from the Labor Commissioner. The license shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the office of the licensee. The license number shall be referred to in any advertisement for the purpose of the solicitation of talent for the talent agency. (Labor Code section 1700.5)
Now look at this part – The license number shall be referred to in any advertisement for the purpose of the solicitation of talent for the talent agency. That includes their websites, which is clearly an advertisement for the purpose of solicitation of talent, so any one with a California license needs to display it loud and proud on their website.
So if a company isn’t following this rule, then they are violating the rule in the state of California.
Anywho, the point is, legit talent agents have to follow the rules of the governing body. This is why it’s always better to do business with a legally licensed agent because if something does happen, you have legal recourse.
Legally you can change your mind for up to 72 hours after you sign your contract. It’s sort of like the old lemon laws for cars. The same type of rules apply – once you sign a contract you can change your mind. Just remember to do it within the first 72 hours and do it in writing. Paper trails are important. You don’t have to have a reason or give one. It’s your right to change your mind in that time period for any reason.
Some states (most states actually) require a company to give you a copy of the signed contract within a certain period of time after you both sign the contract for it to be considered “executed” and therefore valid.
The talent agency shall deliver to the artist a copy of the contract required by California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 12001 which has been executed by the talent agency and the artist.
Now keep in mind I’m not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV so if you need real legal advice you should speak to a real lawyer. This page is just here to provide you some general information.
Agent’s may not share their license with another independent agency. It is possible for one agency to have two different names (through the DBA process), but you can’t go sharing your license with another agency. This however is being done (illegally so mind you) in our industry. Right now there are apparently 4 agencies all using the exact same license #.
To get a license you have to pay a fee of like $1,000, fill out a ton of boring paperwork, get finger printed and not be a felon. So what some people do is try to claim they are “umbrella’d” under another agency. Sorry but that legally isn’t allowed and that means any talent who has contracts with that company will find their contracts are in fact not valid and those girls don’t have to pay the agents any money because they don’t have valid contracts.
Another thing you can’t do is give or sell your license, at least not without permission.
No license shall protect any other than the person to whom it is issued nor any places other than those designated in the license. No license shall be transferred or assigned to any person unless written consent is obtained from the Labor Commissioner.
Every once in awhile you’ll hear about some company or another retiring, going out of business or whatever and selling or hell once even giving away their license to another company. Sorry but that isn’t legal either.
So if you do a name search on the CA database and find the names online don’t match those of your agent, then there is perhaps a problem.
Under California Code of Regulations, also known as the three month termination period, if an agent doesn’t book you any work then you can (in writing) request to be released from your contract.
Any incapacity which shall prevent a talent agency from performing the services to be rendered by such talent agency to an artist for a period of three consecutive months or the failure of the talent agency to maintain a regular office for the transaction of business in the State of California for a period of one month shall be sufficient grounds for cancellation or termination of the contract by the artist.
So what does all of this mean? It means that just because your agent has a website, or Facebook page or twitter account doesn’t make them legal or legit. Before signing anything DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Find out if they are legally licensed to do business in the state or states you want to work in.
Sometimes you will have to have an agent in California, one in Florida and one in New York. That isn’t uncommon either.
The point is that you make sure, whomever you are working with is legit. It is important.