California legislators have backed a bill that’s aimed at strengthening the state’s 2009 Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act in the first vote on the measure.
Assembly member Chris Holden’s Talent Agency Scam Prevention Bill, introduced on Feb. 17, passed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee with unanimous support on Tuesday. The proposed legislation expands the list of communication forms that can be regulated such as online and computer applications.
“With the unprecedented popularity of reality television and social media sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and others, the quest for instant stardom has become prevalent among all ages, especially teens and young adults,” said Holden. “Unfortunately, this creates a ripe situation for illegitimate talent agencies to scam young, aspiring artists.”
Holden noted that nearly 500 talent agencies are registered within Los Angeles County and that most are legitimate. But smaller unlicensed talent agencies sometimes charge upfront fees or refuse to remove content at the request of a client.
The bill updates the talent service laws to include mobile apps and online services that are not on the internet as websites.
“With the widespread use of the internet, everybody thinks they can become a famous star overnight,” casting director Dea Vise told Variety.
“Some agents and managers have websites where they charge actors to submit online for representation and even for projects they are supposedly producing,” Vise added. “This should help the State of California crack down on talent scams affecting children and adults and gives teeth to AB1319 — the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act. It’s time for the City Attorney’s office to start prosecuting some more people.”
The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009 specifically prohibits talent services from engaging in the business of talent representation and charging money upfront for the promise of securing jobs. It also requires such services to post a $50,000 bond with the state and calls for use of unambiguous language in contracts with aspiring performers.