I’m making this blog post as a supplemental supporting document to the Media page I created earlier on the website. For those of you who want to know why it’s critically important that you know what you’re signing when you deal with television, take a look at some of the crap contained in the most recent “Appearance Release” sent to me last week by a TV show that wanted us to participate. In the last month we’ve received release requests from the Discovery Channel, the Ricki Lake Show, and the Steve Harvey Show. (Sorry dear wife, still no interest from Ellen DeGeneres.)
I’ve learned enough over this last year to know the TV show hosts don’t know diddly about what goes on behind the scenes with their production companies, but in this instance… c’mon. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Steve Harvey, and I can’t think in good conscience that he knows anything about this, but he needs to. So… I’m sure ONE of you out there will eventually get this to his attention.
All these excerpts come from the production company called Deep Dish Productions of Chicago, LLC. In conjunction with Endermol, USA, they produce the Steve Harvey show for distribution by NBC Universal.
Consent to be Owned Forever:
This is the first paragraph. Read it carefully.“You hereby consent to the recording, use and reuse by Producer, and any of its licensees, designees, and assigns and each of their respective parents, subsidiary entities, affiliates, and the respective directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, partners, shareholders, representatives and attorneys of each of the foregoing (collectively, “Released Parties”) in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity, of your voice, actions, likeness (actual or simulated), name, sobriquet, picture, photograph, silhouette, appearance, and other reproductions of your physical likeness (as the same may appear in any still camera photograph and/or motion picture film or tape) and biographical information (collectively “Likeness”), and any photographs, video footage, written works and/or any other materials subject to protection by copyright or trademark laws of any territory, which you supply to Producer in connection with your appearance on the Program (collectively “Materials”) in and in connection with the production and exhibition of the Program and any derivative works thereof. The rights herein granted include, without limitation, all television rights, theatrical rights, home video and DVD rights, interactive cable rights, internet site rights, so-called “wireless” and mobile device rights (e.g., iPod, cellular phone, ringtones, mp3 player), digital distribution rights (e.g. streaming and download), computer-assisted media rights (including, without limitation, CD-ROM, CD-I, and other similar disc systems), and rights relating to any other devices or methods now existing or hereafter devised, with respect to the use of your Likeness and Materials in and in connection with the Program and any derivative works thereof. You agree that Producer may use all or any part of your Likeness and Materials, and may alter or modify it, regardless of whether or not You are recognizable. You further agree that Producer may use your Likeness and Materials in connection with any marketing, promotion, publicity, advertisement, and/or merchandising for the Program and any derivative works thereof. You understand that Producer is recording your Likeness and/or Materials in reliance on this consent. You acknowledge that Producer has no obligation to use your Likeness or Materials.”
OHMYGOD.. like anyone who read that would sign it? Let me get this straight, you can use my image, or make up one you like, make me do anything you’d like me to do, portray me in any light you’d like to, and you own the rights to do so on every broadcast medium ever invented or that ever will be invented? Are you abso-freakin-lutely out of your damned gourd?
Consent to Public Humiliation
And these next two parts are amazing. I can’t believe anyone would even think of putting this in a contract, much less expecting you to sign it.“You understand that your appearance in the Program and your actions and the actions of others in the Program may relate to highly personal topics such as love and relationships, and may be disparaging, defamatory, inflammatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature, may portray you in a false light and may expose you to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation.”
Really? You’re telling me up front that you’re liable to subject me and my family to public ridicule and humiliation and you’re NOT paying me for the privilege? Even if I were going to THINK about something like this for my family, there had better be at least three numbers to the left of the comma before any human being should let this be done to them or their family.
But wait. It gets better:
“You agree that you shall never make use of any “Social Media” (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, blog, or similar Internet source), in connection with your participation in the Program without Producer’s prior written approval in each instance. You acknowledge and agree that the Confidential Information is confidential and the exclusive property of Producer and its licensees. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you may make incidental,
non-derogatory mention that you participated in the Program”
Ok, so basically you just issued a gag order, but it’s OK if I want to say something nice about you? I wonder what would happen if I said anything negative? Oh wait, here’s the explanation of that one…
“You agree that any breach or violation by you of any of the terms or provisions of this
Release with respect to confidentiality, shall result in substantial damages and injury to Producer, the precise amount of which would be extremely difficult or impracticable to be determined. Accordingly, the parties have made a reasonable endeavor to estimate a fair compensation for potential losses and damages to Producer and, therefore, further agree that you will pay to Producer the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) as a reasonable and fair amount of liquidated damages to compensate Producer for any loss or damage resulting from each breach by you of the terms hereof with respect to confidentiality. The parties hereto further agree that such sum bears a reasonable and proximate relationship to the actual
damages which Producer will suffer from each breach of the terms of this Release.
You further acknowledge and agree that any breach or threatened breach of this Release due to the unauthorized Disclosure or threatened Disclosure by You to Third Parties of any Confidential Information will cause irreparable harm to Producer and shall entitle Producer to obtain (without posting any bond), an ex parte restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction preventing the Disclosure, or any further Disclosure, of any Confidential Information.”
Let’s clarify this a little bit and break it down into really small intelligible bites, ok?
First, just for being on our show, we will own your copyrighted material forever and have sole exclusive privilege to sell it to whomever we want. By the way, we’re likely going to publicly humiliate you and hold your family up to ridicule, after which you can NEVER EVER say anything negative to ANYBODY about it, OR you are going to have to pay us HALF A MILLION DOLLARS EVERY TIME YOU DO IT!
Are you out of your mind? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over? Holy crap! No. Hell to the no. H-e-l-l naw. Uh-uh. No way Jose. No gracias. Nein. La, shukran. Nope. Negative.
If you are even THINKING about saying yes to someone asking you to go on television, PLEASE read the contracts before you do anything else. Just signing this document and sending it back to them would mean I’m never allowed to even make this blog post. Well, I could, but I’d owe them half a million dollars if I published it. Can you imagine?
For the Producers:
Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you EVER try to send me this kind of crap, I will personally do my very best to be sure the entire world knows just how despicable your business practices are. Try to sue me. I dare you.
The fact that you would do this to ANYONE is ridiculous! And by all laws of common sense, I can only assume that anyone who has ever gone on the Steve Harvey Show has already signed this document and therefore can’t possibly ever come out and discuss how potentially bad they were treated! Now I know NOTHING about the show, and in fact was kind of interested in potentially going forward with this… until I read the contract. I really admire Mr. Harvey on television and would consider it really awesome to have the chance to meet him in person, but under these terms? Respectfully, no way Sir!