The battle has animated vigorous discussion of the 1978 statute, which requires anyone who procures work or negotiates employment contracts for clients to be a licensed agent. Although the statute was initially intended to protect the weak, some experts say it now gives agents a captive client base, enthroning them in positions of impregnable power.
“It has been clear that the Legislature should involve itself in determining whether or not the law makes sense,” said Michael Plonsker, a Los Angeles entertainment attorney who has litigated cases involving the Talent Agencies Act but isn’t involved in the current dispute.
“Agents have this monopoly,” said another entertainment attorney who requested anonymity because of professional relationships with the agencies. “[The law’s] application has expanded beyond its original function.”
Hollywood’s big four agencies — Endeavor, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners — have vehemently defended their position, saying in a strongly worded letter to the WGA this month that they would consider any attempt by the guild to delegate agent duties to other parties to be “unfair and unlawful competition.”
“We demand the immediate retraction of the WGA’s purported ‘delegation,’” the letter stated.
What we are seeing is the democratization of the entertainment industry and the end of the big talent agencies gross exploitation of clients. SAG-AFTRA should follow WGA’s example 😒…