Equity Streaming Agreement
Since the closure of the theatre industry across the country in March, producers have struggled to find a way to continue creating work at a time when artists cannot be in close contact. One of the problems is creating shows for online streaming or being run live via Zoom. but the solution has cast doubt on the union that would cover the employment contract for the actors. Under the pandemic agreement, Equity is competent if the work is exhibited on a platform that is only available to ticket holders or theatre subscribers. SAG-AFTRA remains responsible for the work that will be exhibited on paid streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney. So far, the SEATTLE ACT Theatre and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre have announced that they will use the new streaming agreements. Two bay area Theater, the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Berkeley Repertory, have already announced that they will use the new agreements, according to the union, which added that producers interested in qualifying can contact their regional investment representatives. Last week, staff began making the new temporary agreements available to eligible producers, those in an area where public meetings are limited. Equity has already filed complaints against some theaters for streaming agreements reached with SAG-AFTRA, and these complaints have yet to be resolved. The two main unions representing the players are currently fighting. The dispute is over who should execute the theatre production contracts recorded for streaming. The Actors` Equity Association accused SAG-AFTRA of taking theatrical productions that it would normally cover through its contracts. In the meantime, SAG-AFTRA has launched an unprecedented investigation into Equity`s activities and has filed a formal complaint.
“This collaborative mediation process has allowed the parties to sit around the table and find a solution that serves the well-being of all members,” Mary McColl, Executive Director of Actors` Equity, wrote in an email to members. “The agreement confirms the historic solidarity and deep ties between Equity and SAG-AFTRA and our members.” It is not known whether this victory will exceed the dark days of the global pandemic. Equity considers agreements to be time-limited. “recording” can refer to any recording, film, acoustic or visual, including digital, electronic, mechanical or any other form of recording of an actor`s performance. The following uses may include television or radio programs, streaming or Downloads on the Internet, mobile broadcasts, film releases or other new and developing media. In response, SAG-AFTRA explained that it had negotiated with Equity on the basis of a waiver proposal that would allow it to cover the recorded theatre with certain provisions. The waiver in question requires Equity to be able to work with theatre producers until April 30, 2021 on streaming or digital presentation shows, but the work cannot be exhibited on streaming platforms that already work with SAG, such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and its associates, HBO Max, Disney, Apple TV-CBS All Access and Peacock. Instead, shows should be “a restricted platform to which only ticket holders or subscribers of the existing equity trading partner can access them.” And the number of tickets a producer can sell is limited: he cannot exceed the number of seats in his theatre (with a limit of 950 tickets).
Both unions can revoke the waiver within 60 days. Two major entertainment industry unions have resolved an internal dispute over streaming theatres and have reached an agreement that should make it easier for professional theatres across the country to shoot plays and musicals for transmission during the coronavirus pandemic.