I recently joined a union where I agreed not to appear in recordings where the producer does not have a contract with the union. The information regarding union rules is spread out over several documents and not well categorized.

I spoke to an information officer and found out by "recordings" they mean any type of video recording regardless of length or sound.

I'm part of a fitness group and the other day someone was making a video with his phone to put on the Facebook page, and asked if I enjoyed the workouts. I would like to know if this would have been a violation of the union agreement? How can I find the answer to this question and not sound like I'm arguing or trying to get around the rules?

Of course it's the information officer's job to explain the rules as generally as possible to protect the union. But I seriously need to know where the boundaries are especially considering it's legal to record someone without their consent in public.

  • Ask if the recordings rule only applies to the workplace. I can't imagine it actually covers non workplace recordings. – user1666620 Nov 15 '18 at 13:50
  • You cannot possibly comply with this agreement. If it is really as you stated it. As anyone can record you without consent in any public place. – Vality Nov 15 '18 at 21:50

Typically rules like this are aimed at commercial/professional scenarios - it's possible it really is that badly set up that it refers to anything that gets recorded but such a broad definition would be unworkable!

Think about the examples such a blanket term would cover:

  • You wouldn't be able to visit any premises where there was CCTV that was recorded. Heck, in some cities you wouldn't be able to walk down the street!.

  • You wouldn't be able to go to any weddings, birthday parties, etc where someone was videoing it.

  • You wouldn't be able to have your photo taken - after all a photo could be defined as a single frame of video and "regardless of length or sound" would cover a single frame!

Since the restriction you describe talks about the producer not having a union contract I think it's a more reasonable interpretation that the restriction is preventing you from appearing in a recording where a non-union professional producer has been hired.

From the sounds of it this Fitness Group is a leisure activity and the person recording this was just a layperson with a smart phone so I doubt there's a professional production team lurking in the wings on this one. Describing the scenario to your Information Officer and seeking clarification on it sounds perfectly reasonable to me - and also answering that sort of query sounds like it's part of their job.

I think it would be highly unlikely to appear as if you were trying to circumvent the rule - quite the opposite really as it would imply to me that you were trying to make sure you were in compliance!

  • Thanks. I know that short indie films are prohibited but I would think someone making a video on their phone still wouldn't count. – ArtichokeS Nov 15 '18 at 15:03

Ask your information officer. You're getting clarification on the rules. You are not trying to get around them, and you don't have to argue. Just ask.

Don't worry about the information officer thinking it a stupid question. The information officer has to be getting plenty of legitimately stupid questions, and it's part of his or her job to answer them.

It is part of the information officer's job to give you a general overview of the rules. It's also part of the job to clarify details.

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