The legal position of sex video agreements
Are sex film contracts legally binding? Can you take legal action against sex film producers? There are tens of thousands of sex videos that were created in the past with participants who now regret having taken part. If you regret acting in a sex video, we hope that this article helps you in understanding the legal position of sex film contracts, regardless of how long ago it was.
Each case is different but there are some commonalities that often make the removal of those videos from the internet possible. The laws in England, which govern the production of sex videos are flimsy. In fact, there are very few laws which could give the producers of the videos the comfort that their production is safe in terms of any infringement of the rights of the individual actors.
Is there a contract between a producer of a sex video and the actor
Strictly speaking, there are contractual relationships between the producer and the actors in the sex video. The basis of the contract is that the producer pays the performer a sum of money, in return for the performer acting in the film and waving nearly all of his legal rights over the film.
Can a performer take legal action against a producer
Those sex film contracts are often very basic and in many cases, they do not comply with the legal requirements of fairness and transparency.
First, the parties are hardly ever in a similar bargaining position. In some cases, the performer is vulnerable and in desperate need for cash, whilst the producer is ready to take advantage of that vulnerability. Evidence of the vulnerability can be inferred from the relative small amount of money which was paid to the performer (if any), for a life changing commitment. Often the amount payable is lower than what is paid to a street sex worker.
Second, from the circumstances under which the actor signed the sex film contract, it is often obvious that she did not read or understand the terms of the contract. Whilst the producer has ample time to prepare the contract, consult with lawyers and consider his position carefully, in most cases, he did not afford the actor a similar opportunity to read, understand or obtain independent legal advice.
In most cases, the first (and in many cases, the last) opportunity the actor had to read the contract between her and the sex film producer, was just as she was having her make up put on. Typically, during that time, the producer would turn up with a piece of paper and ask her to sign it. Under the pressurised environment, very few actors, especially those who hadn't done it before, don't read the sex film contracts. They are too nervous, too frightened, too harassed into performing in a sex video or feel too excited to read, let alone understand what the contract entails.
Third, the complexity and the enormity of the obligations that the actor had taken upon himself by agreeing to participate in a pornographic film, could never be overstated. The impact on the actor's right to privacy, right to personal data and rights to the intellectual property rights are hardly ever fully articulated to him. Prior to the days when broadband became widely available, many actors were led to believe that there will only be limited distribution of the films they took part in.
But even in more recent years, actors have been promised limited distribution, often only through paid websites but ended up having their nude films being disseminated all over the internet. They had never been told nor appreciated the extent of the breach of their privacy rights, otherwise many would not have consented to take part in the films in the first place. Many people have felt tricked into performing in sex videos.
Is it possible to remove sex videos from the internet by legal action
Removing sex videos from the internet requires the actor to take a number of steps. Apart from the obvious step of identifying all of the websites which have links to the videos, the performer should also try and identify individuals who hold copies and who tend to regularly upload the videos to the internet.
In addition, it is important, whenever possible to get in touch with the sex film producer. The producer should, upon request, produce all available contracts, release forms and any other data that they hold about the performer. It does not matter that the film was made 10 or even 15 years ago.
Once data is received from the producer, it should become possible to have intellectual property rights in the films transferred to the actor, as part of the settlement with the producer. This can be done together, alongside or instead of any claims that the actor may wish to bring against the producer. For example, a claim for breach of contract or a claim for breach of data and even a claim for breach of privacy, could possibly result in an entitlement for payment of substantial damages to the actor.
Once the actor is armed with the copyright for the video, it becomes much easier to have copies of the videos removed and even barred from pornographic websites and for the actor to sue for damages, should anyone make use of the videos without their permission.
How can a performer overcome fear of reappraisal by the film producer
Many porn actors are too scared to confront the producer, for understandable reasons. Most fear reprisals and exposure. Whilst those fears are sensible, you need to bear in mind that it is not in the producer's interest to risk litigating a case such as this in court. To them, litigation is most likely to mean an end to their business, to their income, to the way of life and in may cases, a follow up investigation by the police. To many sex film producers, it would mean exposure to their families or their community. To reiterate, this means that you would not get found out about the sex film that you have appeared in, since it will not go to court.
How to start legal action against a sex film producer
Producers of porn films in the UK are therefore being advised (and quite rightly so) to settle any claim as soon as possible. It makes sense to throw a little bit of money at what they consider a temporary problem, to make it go away. This is particularly true in cases where the producer is unable to produce evidence that will show, on balance, that the actress knew from the outset what she was getting herself into and that the contract between him and the actress was fair to both parties. The producer will also need to demonstrate how he had dealt with the actor's data and that he handled it in accordance with GDPR or the Data Protection Act.
Call us to discuss taking legal action involving sex film contracts: 0800 612 7211.