United States: SAG-AFTRA Imposes New Restrictions On Third-Party Signatories Through New Letter Of Adherence

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFRA), the union representing on-camera talent in the advertising industry, has reached an agreement with six leading signatory co-producers. The agreement establishes new restrictions on what those signatories can do during the production process, including restrictions concerning the extent to which non-signatory ad agencies may be involved in productions featuring SAG-AFTRA talent.

Although the agreement only binds the six companies that signed it, SAG-AFTRA is requiring other third-party signatories to sign as well or risk losing their signatory status, causing changes that will likely be felt throughout the industry.

SAG-AFTRA’s crackdown on third-party signatories began over a year ago, when the union sent them letters requesting information regarding their status and role as producers and employers as defined under their then-existing letter of adherence to the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract. Earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA escalated its push by revoking the signatory status of six leading third-party signatories, claiming that they were not “bona fide employers” of the talent performing services in the commercials as to which the signatories were hired to engage the SAG-AFTRA talent.

The Letter of Adherence

Since then, the six companies negotiated an agreement with SAG-AFTRA, culminating in their signing a new Letter of Adherence (LOA) as a condition of their being able to remain signatories. The LOA imposes wide-ranging employer obligations on third-party signatories and substantial restrictions on the ad agencies attached to the production.

First, the LOA lists 10 activities that the signatory must perform in connection with any production in order to be an “employer.” The LOA further states that the enumerated activities “are non-delegable and must be performed by an actual W-2 employee” of the signatory, and requires that signatories provide SAG-AFTRA, within 30 days of shooting an ad, with documents demonstrating compliance.

Under the LOA, signatories must do at least all of the following:

  1. Secure a casting agent in collaboration with the client;
  2. Resolve all cast clearance issues;
  3. Hire and contract with performers in collaboration with clients;
  4. Have personnel on-set for each and every production except voiceover sessions or foreign shoots (defined as shoots taking place outside of the United States). Those on-set personnel must be able to address any issues arising under the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract for any shoot days;
  5. Ensure proper payment of session fees and residuals of all performers and be available to promptly engage with SAG-AFTRA staff to resolve any claims at the time of production or thereafter;
  6. Attend pre-production meetings (in person or via conference call) if signatory’s responsibilities set forth are discussed;
  7. Participate in the selection of a production company;
  8. Review scripts and storyboards for purposes of determining the number of performers to employ;
  9. Be involved in selection of performers; and
  10. Negotiate union talent agreements with performer representatives in collaboration with the client.

The LOA also states that third-party signatories may only serve as signatories directly for advertisers, not advertising agencies, “and only when the advertiser has not engaged and will not engage an advertising agency to perform any of the [same enumerated] employer functions . . . in connection with the commercial for which the [c]ompany is being engaged.” The LOA includes a form that signatories must have advertisers sign attesting to this, and also requires the advertiser to attach a signed agreement between the advertiser and an advertising agency working on the commercial (if any) stating that the agency will not provide any of the enumerated “employer services.”

Impact of the LOA

By requiring that any advertising agency attached to the production not perform any of the 10 enumerated “employer functions,” the LOA, in essence, seeks to prevent third-party signatories from working with non-union advertising agencies at all. Many see this effort primarily as a way to get non-union agencies to become signatories.

For years, non-union agencies have worked with third-party signatories on commercial productions that include SAG-AFTRA talent, which SAG-AFTRA views as usurping the requirement that an agency become a signatory. By focusing on the third-party signatories’ status as “employers,” the union sought to restrict the participation of non-union agencies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions