'In perpetuity' contracts

  • Sonja Wirwohl

    Actor

    Hi,

    I'm fairly new to the industry and have just been cast in an online testimonial for a big mobile phone company. I asked about buyout fees etc, and was told (after the photos had been taken), that it was 'in perpetuity'. I have not signed a release form for the footage yet, and am wondering what my position might be re. negotiating a buyout period at this stage.

    I don't have an agent and am not yet an Equity member either.

    Although the likelihood of mobile ads being shown forever is, of course, very slim, I'm not keen to sign my life away 'forever'!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • 11th Jul 2012
    • 4343
    • 4
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Hmmm...well you need to agree and or get advice first and then agree a full buyout fee. It can mean forever and or just for a very long time. A contract in perpetuity should mean a much higher usage I'd have said? Normally though.....contracts are re-negotiated after a set period.

    This is the danger of NOT having an agent and or being a member of Equity or working with a non equity contract….not easy to get when just starting out.

    No doubt an Equity officer may reply with better advice than I can give, but it sounds as though you are still at negotiation stage if you have not signed anything. Tread carefully and do not allow yourself to get ripped off.

    • 10th Jul 2012
    • 1
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    It's a pity you are not an Equity member, as you would then have access to the commercials usage rate card, but the union certainly advise the following:

    If you are offered a buyout in perpetuity for a UK

    commercial, limited use-fees or an unlimited usage period,

    contact Equity immediately to discuss this.

    Tim Gale is ideally the man to contact at Equity as he is, amongst other things, the commercials organiser, and should be able to apprise you of your rights. You don't need to be a member to speak to him. Whether or not you can actually gain any significant leverage with which to re-negotiate the terms is a different issue, but Equity believes that you are always entitled to ancillary rights, although residuals are virtually a thing of the past, and most campaigns do not run long enough that repeat fees are ever, in most cases, accrued.

    • 10th Jul 2012
    • 2
  • Sonja Wirwohl

    Actor

    Mark and Lee, Thank you very much for your advice. I shall get on to Tim Gale and see what he says.

    Many thanks again

    :-)

    • 10th Jul 2012
    • 3
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Good advice...nice one Lee.

    • 11th Jul 2012
    • 4