Are you a person or company who, for compensation, engages in the business of procuring or attempting to procure engagements for a person performing on the professional stage or in the production of television, radio, or motion pictures; a musician or group of musicians; or a model? If you do, then the State of Florida considers you a talent agent for performing artists. More importantly, were you aware that a person may not “own, operate, solicit business, or otherwise engage in or carry on the occupation of a talent agency in this state unless such person first procures a license for the talent agency from the department.” See Fla. Statutes §468.403. Owning, operating, or soliciting business as a talent agency in Florida without first procuring a license is considered a felony of the third degree and punishable by imprisonment of up to five years.
In order to obtain a license each owner of a talent agency must submit to the Florida Department of Professional Regulation an application for licensure. Among the information necessary on this application is proof of at least one year of direct experience or similar experience of the operator of such agency in the talent agency business or as a subagent, casting director, producer, director, advertising agency, talent coordinator, or musical booking agent. Each applicant must provide a full set of fingerprints and a photograph of herself or himself taken within the preceding two years. The application must also be accompanied by affidavits of at least five reputable persons, other than artists, who have known or have been associated with the applicant for at least three years, stating that the applicant is a person of good moral character or, in the case of a corporation, has a reputation for fair dealing. A filing fee and proof of a $5,000.00 bond must also be submitted with the application.
It should be noted that a license is not required for a person who acts as an agent for herself or himself, a family member, or exclusively for one artist. If you think you may qualify for this particular exception, you should consult with an entertainment attorney for a complete legal opinion as to the specifics of your circumstances.
Holding a license isn’t the final step for a Florida talent agent. Florida law requires that each talent agency keep on file the application, registration, or contract of each artist. Specifically, that file must include the name and address of each artist, the amount of the compensation received, and all attempts to procure engagements for the artist. Each card or document in the file shall be preserved for a period of one year after the date of the last entry thereon. Once again, the penalty for non-compliance is unforgiving; failure to accurately keep such records amounts to a misdemeanor of the second degree. There are other regulations by which talent agencies operating in Florida must abide. We strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney for a complete listing of talent agency regulations in Florida Statutes.
**The purpose of this article is to provide general information on the issue contained herein. This article is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice on any specific issue. If you would like to know how these issues would apply to you or your business, we suggest you consult with an attorney for a specific legal opinion.