Prohibits persons, who are not licensed employment agencies and who charge a fee for performers' services, from making misleading representations that it will secure a job for a client in the entertainment industry.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting certain entities charging fees for performers' services from making certain false, misleading or deceptive representations
PURPOSE: To create an unambiguous distinction between Employment Agencies and Talent Services Companies, to prevent the latter from making false and misleading statements concerning job placement to workers and performers, and to create a plaintiff cause of action as well as civil and criminal penalties for such violations.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends the general business law creating a new section 180 in relation to Performers' services, providing that no person who is not licensed under this article shall make any false, misleading or deceptive oral or written representation that it will secure for a prospective client a job as a performer in the entertainment industry in exchange for such fee.
Section 2 amends section 190 of the general business law to provide a violation under section
Section 3 contains the effective date
JUSTIFICATION: New York State is home to thousands of performers seeking a legitimate opportunity to work in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, the number of candidates looking for employment far exceeds the available opportunities for work, creating a highly competitive labor market and one wrought with unscrupulous players who prey upon a class of uninformed workers/performers.
Throughout New York, entities place adds in neighborhood newspapers, and attach advertisements to walls and poles, whereby they offer potential clients services such as acting seminars, career counseling, and resume assistance. However, these advertisements take an insidious turn once they couple these offered services with false and deceptive representations of securing employment for the potential client. Such a representation is the hook that ropes in the client, and is the equivalent of stealing sometimes hundreds, or even thousands of dollars from a trusting and unsuspecting performer.
Relevant examples of such practices in New York include the young performer whose parents are told that their child will secure work once they provide a fee to an entity, in order to expose the child to a particular casting director, agent, producer or manager. Another recent trend is the company that claims it will secure an actor an audition for a reality television show, for a fee, and that should the actor make it past the first cut, their fee will be returned. In other cases, unscrupulous producers are attempting to finance their films by charging actors fees in order to appear in the film, or casting agencies charging actors fees to post headshots and resumes online and claiming that they will have access to various film projects. Performers are tricked into believing that than entity or person is well connected within the industry, and falsely believe that they will secure work from such access by paying fees.
Currently, these "Talent Services Companies" are outside the grasp of the civil and criminal law because they are not characterized or registered as "employment agencies." This proposed bill would give any injured party a right to bring action in their own name to recover damages.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7829 IN SENATE June 12, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting certain entities charging fees for performers' services from making certain false, misleading or deceptive representations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 180 to read as follows: S 180. PERFORMERS' SERVICES; UNLICENSED PERSONS. NO PERSON, WHO IS NOT LICENSED PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE AND WHO CHARGES OR IMPOSES A FEE TO PROVIDE PERFORMERS' SERVICES SUCH AS PROFESSIONAL TRAINING, CAREER COUN- SELING, RESUME ASSISTANCE, ONLINE RESUME HOSTING OR OTHER SIMILAR SERVICES, SHALL MAKE ANY FALSE, MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE ORAL OR WRITTEN REPRESENTATION THAT IT WILL SECURE FOR A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT A JOB AS A PERFORMER IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN EXCHANGE FOR SUCH FEE. S 2. Section 190 of the general business law, as amended by chapter 632 of the laws of 1975, is amended to read as follows: S 190. Penalties for violations. 1. Any person who violates and the officers of a corporation and stockholders holding ten percent or more of the stock of a corporation which is not publicly traded, who knowing- ly permit the corporation to violate sections one hundred seventy-two, one hundred seventy-three, one hundred seventy-six, ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY, one hundred eighty-four, one hundred eighty-four-a, one hundred eighty- five, one hundred eighty-five-a, one hundred eighty-six, or one hundred eighty-seven of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, by any court of competent jurisdiction. The violation of any other provision of this article shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days. Criminal proceedings based upon violations of these sections shall be instituted by the commissioner and may be instituted by any persons aggrieved by such violations.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15478-01-4 S. 7829 2
2. ANY INDIVIDUAL, WHO HAS BEEN INJURED BY REASON OF ANY VIOLATION OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY OF THIS ARTICLE, MAY BRING AN ACTION IN HIS OR HER OWN NAME TO RECOVER HIS OR HER ACTUAL DAMAGES. THE COURT MAY, IN ITS DISCRETION, INCREASE THE AWARD OF SUCH DAMAGES TO AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THREE TIMES THE PLAINTIFF'S ACTUAL DAMAGES, IF THE COURT FINDS THE DEFENDANT WILLFULLY OR KNOWINGLY VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY OF THIS ARTICLE. IN ADDITION, THE COURT MAY AWARD REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES TO A PREVAILING PLAINTIFF. S 3. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.