Models, adult film actors and sex workers often get a bad deal when it comes to their level of payment, their legal rights and work conditions. The bad deal might work in favour of the porn producer in the short term but in the long term, in many cases, the model will have a right to comeback at a later date with various legal claims against the producer. The legal effect of sex workers signing contacts and waivers is very important to understand and consider,
If you work in the adult industry, whether a model or an actor in a porn film, it is likely that the impact of the work you perform today, will last for a lifetime. Even if you feel that the contract you enter into with a porn film producer or an adult entertainment agency is not subject to negotiation, it would benefit you to fully understand it and its implications on you and on your future career. In many cases, contracts between adult industry worker and their producers are unlawful at least in part.
Even if you decided to sign such a contract, you might later on be able to show that your signature on it was not worth the paper it was written on. Whilst this could be helpful to you later on, it is likely that if you were to be fully aware, from the outset, of what those clauses you are about to sign and commit yourself to means in legal terms, you would be able to save yourself a lot of aggravation later on in life.
It is highly questionable whether certain contracts which had been signed by a model or an actor in a porn film are valid or enforceable. In considering the enforceability of porn contracts, courts will take into account various matters.
Special attention should be given to factors, such as the circumstances of the contract being signed by the model. This includes the amount of time which was allowed for the model to really understand that they consider the contract and any pressures placed on the model before and whilst signing the contract. Consideration for the representation made to the model to entice her to attend the studio, the model's state of mind at the time, any state of intoxication or drug use by the model, the model's age, the amount of money paid by the producer to the model and whether there was a fair balance of power between the model and the porn producers.
If a contract between a model who agreed to perform sex on camera and the producers is found to be unenforceable or invalid, the model might be able to claim substantial amount of damages for breach of privacy, breach of data, breach of performers’ rights, breach of contract and in some cases, sexual assault and other criminal acts.
Often, the contact between the model and the producer only consists of a so called, waiver. A waiver is s document that a model is often asked to sign where she agrees to waive her legal rights to sue the producer in relation to the production of the sex video. Typically, a waiver includes the waiving of any intellectual property rights to the produced videos and in some cases a waiver will go as far as limiting any ability of the model to sue under the producers. A waiver might or might not be lawful or enforceable, depending on the circumstances of each case. A waiver, which attempts to waive the model’s right to privacy might subsequently be found to be unlawful and therefore unenforceable.
To waive her right to privacy, the model will be expected to understand and appreciate the full implications of having her privacy taken from her. Considering that under European law, the right to a private life is a basic legal right, a simple waiver by a model of her right to privacy, which is intended to last until the end of her life, might be found unlawful and therefore unenforceable.
Depending on the circumstances of each case, porn producers might find themselves in a tricky situation, particularly when asked to produce records of compliance with privacy and data protection laws. Many have kept poor records of their activities with each of the performing models with the way they have protected the rights of the model under GDPR. Identification records tend to be difficult for many producers to produce and in exceedingly rare cases there are credible records of the circumstances which relate to the signing of each of the reforming models.
Most of the cases that we have taken on, result in settlements between the porn film producers and the model. In most cases the settlement includes the transfer of copyright in her films from the producer to the performing model and in financial compensation.