The Price of Fame: The Reality of Television Contracts | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Price of Fame: The Reality of Television Contracts

By Christopher Heaps

Reposted with permission from

The Source has a story this week about a mysterious casting company seeking Benditos who are interested in being on a “reality show” set here. Some people think it’s fake, and it sure is goofy. For example, the first version of the casting call webpage referred to Bend as a city in the “mid-west.” Ha ha.

If you are so inclined, you are invited to submit a “Casting Application.” The unnamed “Network” apparently intends the Casting Application to be a legally binding contract, and it requires some interesting commitments on your part.

For example, you may not run for public office now or “until one (1) year after initial broadcast of the episodes of the Production in which [you] appear.” (Part 4) When is that initial broadcast? Who knows. But there may never be one because the Network has no obligation to ever actually air anything. (Part 5, Section 2). So I hope you’re not interested in politics.

Also, you must be “willing to travel to various locations as part of production.” Are we talking La Pine here, or LA? I’m not sure. Is there really a difference?

But where it really gets good is the scope of the rights that you sign away. Check out this from Part 5, Section 1:

Applicant irrevocably grants Network the perpetual, worldwide right to make visual and/or audio recordings and still images of Applicant, whether recorded prior or subsequent to the execution hereof, with or without Applicant’s knowledge (collectively, the “Recordings”) and to use the Recordings and Applicant’s name, voice, likeness, and biographical information (“Applicant’s Likeness”) as included in the Recordings and/or otherwise obtained by Network, in and in connection with the Production, and any version thereof, as Network may determine in its sole discretion.

So, every single photo or video of you ever taken is the property of the Network. That includes photos and videos made long ago, like when you had acne all over your face, or got caught playing dress-up with your mom’s clothes, or when you were a little too big for that training bra. Imagine your most embarrassing moment captured on film. Sound good?

Creepiest of all, of course, are the recordings made “without Applicant’s knowledge.” And those recordings made without your knowledge may be from your experience on the show or “otherwise obtained by Network.” I can hear the collective “Ewww” from female readers.

Incredibly, it gets worse. To wit:

Applicant authorizes Network to incorporate and license others to incorporate any part or all of the Recordings and/or Applicant’s Likeness in the Production and in any other production. Applicant grants Network the right to use the Recordings and/or Applicant’s Likeness for the purpose of advertising and promoting the Production or any version thereof and/or any other production in which the Recordings and/or Applicant’s Likeness is incorporated and/or the exhibitors (including, but not limited to, institutional promotion) and sponsors of any of the foregoing in any manner whatsoever, including, but not limited to, product integration, commercial tie-ins, and implied endorsements.

So your face, name, voice, etc, can be used for literally anything, not just for the “reality” show. That includes advertisements for the show and any products the Network happens to be advertising. Haven’t you always wanted to appear in an ad for adult diapers? How about a phone sex line? Anything is possible now!

And it goes on and on, forever! But the best part, of course, is the money:

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Applicant agrees that the rights granted hereunder shall include the perpetual, worldwide right of Network to edit, telecast, cablecast, rerun, record, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise exploit, in any manner and in any medium or forum, whether now known or hereafter devised, the Production or any version thereof or any other production in which the Recordings and/or Applicant’s Likeness is incorporated, in whole or in part, without any compensation to Applicant.

In return for getting literally nothing for all your time and for giving away every representation ever made of you, you will not be able to sue the Network for anything it does. (Part 5, Section 7) If some crew member hits you with a van or drops a light on your head, you’re out of luck, because you “expressly assume[] all risk and danger and all hazards arising from, or related in any way to, Applicant’s participation in the Production, however caused and whether by negligence or otherwise.” And you waive any right to sue for anything, “including but not limited to claims for any personal injury, property damage, libel, slander, defamation, infringement of right of publicity, invasion of privacy, false association or false endorsement, whether or not caused by any negligence or act or omission of the Released Parties.”

Really it’s a screaming deal.

The foregoing is not legal advice. If you really want to be on this show, you should talk to a lawyer before signing the Casting Application. You can find one by calling 800-452-7636 during regular business hours.

About The Author

Erin Rook

Erin was a writer and editor at the Source from 2013 to 2016.
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