Category Archives: Florida

Booking Talent in Florida? Better have a Florida Talent License.

FloridaSealAre 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.

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An invitation to Rick Newcombe and the Creators Syndicate in L.A.: Come to Business Friendly Florida!

A little bit of background for the general public: If you don’t know who Rick Newcombe is exactly, you’re not alone. I recently learned that Rick Newcombe is the entrepreneur behind the Creators Syndicate. Names aside, I was however, very familiar with his work with his company Creators Syndicate. Since 1987 Creators Syndicate has represented hundreds of influential writers in syndicating their words in newspapers and websites around the world. Writers such as Hillary Clinton, Bill O’Reilly, Susan Estrich, Thomas Sowell, Roland Martin and Michelle Malkin along with Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonists have benefited from the hardworking efforts of Mr. Newcombe and his company. Mr. Newcombe represented the wide range of voices from his hometown of Los Angeles. 

Mr. Newcombe loved his hometown of Los Angeles. So it was as a shock to him when, about 15 years ago, the city reclassified his tax category from a “resale and wholesale” classification to the much higher tax rate classification of “occupations and professions.” Rick did what any business owner in the same situation should do: he hired a team of attorneys and took on city hall.  To make a long legal story short…Mr. Newcombe won.  After several administrative hearings, it was determined that Creators Syndicate should be classified at the lower tax classification.  All was good in the world.

The city of Los Angeles left Creators Syndicate alone until 2007. It was then that according to Mr. Newcombe, the city council changed its position without warning. Disregarding the previous deterination, the city asserted that it wasn’t bound by any prior adverse rulings.  The city reclassified Creators Syndicate into the higher tax classification. Once again, Rick Newcombe found himself at the front lines of a legal battle. He hired another team of attorneys and brought a lawsuit seeking to have the city of Los Angeles abide by the previous ruling.

The outcome is still pending. It is an outcome that I will be watching here at http://www.FloridaSolicitor.com. In a recent editorial recently, Rick Newcombe declared that if the city of Los Angeles manages to prevail in the pending court action, he would move the Creators Syndicate to a more business friendly location. He himself would also leave the city that has been his home for the past 30 years.  A letter from Rick Newcombe detailing why he will leave LA can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124718265362620253.html

Enough with the background – the remainder of this post is directed to Mr. Rick Newcombe himself.

Mr. Newcombe, I would like to weigh in on your search for a new home for Creators Syndicate. WE INVITE YOU TO RELOCATE TO BUSINESS FRIENDLY FLORIDA.  

Did you know that Florida is one of the best states to conduct business? Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation for workforce; it is among the top 10 in technology and innovation, and moved up to rank third overall in Chief Executive’s 2009 survey of the best places for jobs and business growth.

As an entrepreneur you can appreciate that Florida continues to gain ground among the nation’s top states for entrepreneurship. In 2008 Florida moved up to rank fourth overall in the 2008 Small Business Survival Index.  As for taxes, Florida’s continues to rank in the top 5 states for best tax climates according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the Tax Foundation survey. With no state income tax, low corporate taxes, a low unemployment insurance tax rate and sales tax exemptions for certain business transactions.

According to Forbes’ Best States for Business in 2008, Florida’s economic climate ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Florida also scored among the top five in the Labor and Growth Prospects categories. Four of Florida’s major metropolitan areas, Orlando, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Cape Coral-Ft. Meyers and Jacksonville were designated by BizJournals in 2009 as being among the nation’s best places to start as small business.  Just in case you were thinking of launching a new endeavor.

My accolades only scratch the surface. More information about the economic benefits of having a business in Florida can be found at Enterprise Florida, a public-private project devoted to statewide economic development. www.EFlorida.com

The quality of life in Florida, and in particular South Florida, is just as attractive as the business climate. We have beautiful tropical oceans lined by coconut palms that sway in the smog-free ocean breezes. South Florida is sub-tropical so while other parts of the country swelter in the summer heat, it rarely gets past the 90s.  So imagine yourself at the beach, wirelessly finalizing the syndication of one of your columnists while contemplating all the money you will save without having to pay any Florida state income tax. 

And of course, while you are ordering a mojito making your final plans to relocate to Florida, I know an excellent attorney that can help you and your business with its relocation.  Just click on the Contact Us page at www.FloridaSolicitor.com

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