California Talent Agency Act Labor Code 1700 - Interpretation

In Marathon Entertainment, Inc. v. Blasi (2008) 42 Cal.4th 974, the Supreme Court examined the TAA. (Lab. Code, 1700 et seq.) Marathon explained: "In Hollywood, talent--the actors, directors, and writers, the Jimmy Stewarts, Frank Capras, and Billy Wilders who enrich our daily cultural lives--is represented by two groups of people: agents and managers. Agents procure roles; they put artists on the screen, on the stage, behind the camera; indeed, by law, only they may do so. Managers coordinate everything else; they counsel and advise, take care of business arrangements, and chart the course of an artist's career. This division largely exists only in theory. the reality is not nearly so neat. the line dividing the functions of agents, who must be licensed, and of managers, who need not be, is often blurred and sometimes crossed." (Marathon, supra, at p. 980.) "In Hollywood, talent agents act as intermediaries between the buyers and sellers of talent. Generally speaking, an agent's focus is on the deal: on negotiating numerous short-term, project-specific engagements between buyers and sellers." (Id. at p. 983.) "'Personal managers primarily advise, counsel, direct, and coordinate the development of the artist's career. They advise in both business and personal matters, frequently lend money to young artists, and serve as spokespersons for the artists.'" (Id. at p. 984.) The TAA regulates talent agencies. Its "roots extend back to 1913, when the Legislature ... imposed the first licensing requirements for employment agents. From an early time, the Legislature was concerned that those representing aspiring artists might take advantage of them, whether by concealing conflicts of interest when agents split fees with the venues where they booked their clients, or by sending clients to houses of ill repute under the guise of providing 'employment opportunities.' Exploitation of artists by representatives has remained the Act's central concern through subsequent incarnations to the present day." (Marathon, supra, 42 Cal.4th at p. 984, citing, among others, Buchwald v. Superior Court, 254 Cal.App.2d at p. 357.) The TAA defines talent agencies as "persons or corporations that procure professional 'employment or engagements' citation for creative or performing 'artists' citation in the entertainment media, including theater, movies, radio, and television citation." The TAA "requires anyone who solicits or procures artistic employment or engagements for artists to obtain a talent agency license. (Lab. Code, 1700.4, 1700.5.)" (Marathon, supra, 42 Cal.4th at p. 985.) "No separate analogous licensing or regulatory scheme extends to personal managers. (Waisbren v. Peppercorn Productions, Inc., supra, 41 Cal.App.4th at p. 252.)" (Marathon, supra, at p. 985.)