Contracts … those pesky little legal documents

Before we get started, I want to make a disclaimer. This post isn’t aimed at any one person. This is based on my more than 2 decades in the industry. If you are reading this and think this sounds like you, it’s because it’s a very common thing, hence why we are discussing it today.

Someone once said something to me that I found interesting. It was something like; you never hear a girl say, “Brazzers is doing a bad job because they are not hiring me”. Nope, they always say something like, “My agent sucks because Brazzers is no longer hiring me.”

The agent, as much shit as I give them sometimes, really do have a horrible, thankless job. They are loved and worshiped when you are making money but the second a girl isn’t getting enough bookings, for whatever reason, the agent is the dick.

I’m not going to lie, some agents do suck. Some agents steal money and lie or illegally brings girls in the country and fuck them over.

But this isn’t about those douchebags. This is about the few guys out there who aren’t breaking the law. Yes, there are a few agents out there who are doing their actual jobs.

See that’s the thing, an agent doesn’t make money unless he (or she) books their client work. The more jobs he books the client, the more money he makes. So it’s always in the clients best interest to book their clients the most work possible.

Nobody goes to work all day not to make money. It’s just not logical.

Just like you, an agent wants to make the most money he can that’s why he actually does try and book his roster with every scene he can and get the most money for said scene. Because again, the more money he makes you, the more money he makes as remember he gets a percentage of what you make.

Yet despite this obvious logic, some girls will still swear up and down their agents suck because they aren’t getting them any work.

This is always *ALWAYS* the case at the end of every year. Why? Because it’s the slow season and girls don’t save enough money during the earlier part of the year to make it through the holidays when the industry all but shuts down for like 2 months.

And so by the time things pick back up again after the AVN awards show is over, the girl is already pissed off and convinced she just needs a new agent. So she goes to the next agent and like always at first things go well. But the second things start to get slow, guess what? “MY AGENT SUCKS”.

Yes, there are some agents who are in fact incompetent buffoons but those are the exception to the rule.

There is this one agent, who yes is a legit licensed agent and has been for years. He recruits some amazing looking girls yet producers cringe when they have to call him about a booking. Why? Because he is the worst. He never calls back and he’s seriously half retarded or something. Some say he’s just old and losing his mind. But seriously the guy has been like this for at least the last 10 years. He’s like the worst.

But in general, with a few exceptions, agents aren’t ass holes looking to ruin you.

In fact, just the opposite. It is their sincere pleasure to book you as often as they can get you work because again, that means more $$$$$ in their pocket.

But let’s just say no matter what, you just hate your agent and want a new one.

The very contract you signed at the beginning which protects your rights, now holds you to him (or her).

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t sign a contract to protect you then decide to ignore it when it doesn’t suit you anymore.

Like it or not, these agents (the licensed ones I mean) have the law on their side. Once YOU sign that contract, you are bound to it.

You have to fulfill the terms of your contract – the contract YOU signed.

This is a lesson performer like Raven Rockette learned the hard way.

Raven Rockette

One day she signed a 3-year contract with an agent. After about a year and a half, she decided she wanted to jump ship. Court records show that she said while under contract with said agent she had enjoyed “a good run” for the previous year and a half. She only would say “My beef is simply my freedom. I want out. … You do not own me. Sorry.

And that may be true, it’s not a slave contract, nobody owns anybody but in the end, she did sign that contract, and she agreed to be legally bound by it, just as her agent did. Terms of contracts go both ways.

And the labor commission from the state of California found in her agent’s favor, and she ended up having to pay them $31,000.

That’s how the law works. I know a lot of girls are quick to scream YOU DON’T OWN ME. IT’S MY BODY. And I understand your frustration. But you signed the contract, a contract you wanted to protect you. So why now are you upset that the very same contract you wanted to protect you and your rights, also protects your agent’s rights?

If you don’t want to be legally bound by a contract, don’t sign one.

I can’t emphasize this enough. And agents licensed by the state don’t even have to sue you. In the state of California, this kind of disputes are handled by the labor commission, and it’s pretty straightforward. It costs your agent almost nothing to have his lawyer filed the complaint against you, and he stands to gain a significant amount in damages and penalties.

As do you, if you were wronged, such as those girls who are repped by non-licensed agents.

Which brings me back to my point.

Contracts are a LEGALLY BINDING agreement. You signed it. You agreed to be bound by the terms.

You can’t wake up one day and decide, hey my agent is a dick. I’m moving on. You should have done your research in advance and found out from others just how much of a dick your agent is before YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT.

 

Hello, my name is Kelli Roberts. I am a published author, AVN nominated producer, and webmaster who has worked in the adult industry since August of 1996.

4 Replies to “Contracts … those pesky little legal documents”

  1. AmDazed

    Good Article Kelli.

    Something that would be great to add and stress is that contracts are usually negotiable until the moment they are signed. Also that models need to read and understand the terms of the contract before signing, specifically the length of the contract, if it auto-renews, and what the related deadlines and procedures are required in order to end the contract.

    Most agents will accept a 1 year contract term even if they initially deliver a 3 year contract for the model to sign. Percentages are also negotiable with a lot of agents. Exclusions for bookings the agency will not receive commissions on are usually negotiable with a lot of agents which can include geographical areas or specific producers that the talent is currently self booking in/with.

    The new model may not know what to look for. It would be great if you could put together an article that informs new models about what contract terms they could potentially obtain so they know what to potentially negotiate.

    I personally don’t think 3 year contract terms are appropriate for new models in this industry as that may encompass their entire adult industry career. I don’t like auto-renews either because most new models are new to business as well and will overlook or forget that they need to give written notice before their contract expires to not automatically renew the contract.

    I’d also like to know more about the procedure for a model to use the State of California’s labor commission’s dispute system for getting out of contracts where the agency has acted illegally. What are some of those illegal actions that would allow a model to be able to win the dispute? Models should be aware if they think a contract is invalid or think they have a justified legal reason to get out of it that this mechanism is also available to them as a cheap and easy way to find out if they can get out, and if so get out. California has a lot of rules that even the best of agents break. What are these rules that could end in legal termination if broken, and will the State of California nullify contracts when they are challenged in this way?

  2. Kelli

    Thanks. I’ll work on a new article with the suggestions you made except the last part. I don’t make that information public so that some shady agents don’t know what we are going to do and try and use tricks to get around them.

    I will put this out there though, if you are a performer who truly feels your agent is in violation, contact me and I always help as best I can for free. I’m not a lawyer but I do have years of experience in dealing with the labor board and contracts.

    As far as the other suggestions though, love it! Totally going to do a new article with all that!!

  3. Cosmo K.

    Great article. Many porn girls don’t understand what contracts are. Plus they don’t understand what agents do and how important they are, if you pick the right one. Not Scotty Ohanion. LOL

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