It’s Hot Labor Day weekend y’all, and there’s no better time to check in to see how all the recent unionization efforts have been going. SAG and the WGA are on still on strike against the AMPTP, which has countered their proposal for renegotiations with a resounding wet fart, hiring publicity firm Levinson Group to have the most sincerely embarrassing profile of its president Carol Lombardi placed in The New York Times.
Maybe it was one of the “8 Mile,” mom’s spaghetti self-owns, and the AMPTP (which in this scenario is Eminem) is about to deliver a devastating blow by calling out SAG (in this world, Anthony Mackie) for having real nice parents. That’s…vaguely what happens, right? It’s been awhile.
As for creators…well, apparently there’s something for us now as well! Possibly? Sketchily? Kristin Snyder ran us through the hype over last week’s launch of the Creators Guild of America (CGA), which claims to be “the official 501(c)(6) non profit organization that protects and promotes the interests of digital creators” and also the IMDB for digital credits.
The CGA is not the first and will certainly not be the last attempt at the Sysphysian-seeming effort of wrangling digital creators into a formal collective bargaining power, and we support all of them. But we’ve got to tell you, there are some bright red flags with this CGA venture, whose sponsors include Adobe, Beacons and something called Mosaic, “a creative ledger of projects and work that is verified by social proof.”
“The actor/writer strikes make me hope for a content creator union at some point. The last few years have had plenty of outrage moments from streamers, but the ability to shut down a live platform as a form of protest would be an incredibly powerful tool in making voices heard.”
Mosaic, a free service that anyone can join, is the lynchpin to the benefits offered by the CGA, which costs $99 a year to join after you meet two of the following eligibility requirements AND be sponsored by an existing member:
15K followers across 3 or less platforms
25K or more monthly active website visits
1 verified platform (excluding Twitter)
Paid activations valued over $15K (1 year or less)
5 confirmed creative credits
Confirmed creator credits, again….what does that mean? Confirmed how? Through social proof? Will aspiring members need to prove their confirmed credits through Mosaic in order to gain access to a guild whose only concrete benefit so far is… accreditation through Mosaic?
Responding to Passionfruit’s inquiries, CGA said that “Accreditation will recognize content and bodies of work that qualify under the CGA’s code of credits (CCC) to be announced very soon.” In response to inquiries about whether they’ll provide legal services for creators, they responded “We will share programming provided by legal experts, to answer commonly asked questions, such as basic contract law, copyright, and other ownership matters.” Since the majority of creators concerns revolve around DMCA takedown notices, would CGA work on behalf of creators to prevent studios from bulk-claiming their content? “We are identifying and prioritizing all areas of advocacy for our Board and Advisory Council to pursue.”
In their FAQ section, the CGA reveals that it’s not a union, nor is it union-adjacent: “Creators Guild does not act as a collective bargaining unit, or claim any of the legal privileges accorded to unions.” This despite one of their listed member benefits as “leverage our collective resources, sample contracts, and paid averages to optimize ownership and fair compensation.” What else is a collective bargaining unit if not leveraging collective resources…to optimize fair compensation?
Instead, the CGA is “a non-profit professional service organization” who “represent a membership of creators across the entire supply chain of the creator economy.”
$500K in venture capital raised from institutional funds
$100K per year in gross revenue (USD or ETH)
50K streams, downloads or installations
Github repo submissions
5 confirmed creative credits
This could all still be above board, and the CGA told Passionfruit, the makers category is “intended to recognize the entrepreneurs and developers who build applications and businesses within the creator economy. Meanwhile, the marketers “represent digital marketing professionals behind the camera” like social media managers.
Which makes the CGA’s function more like that of a job fair or social mixer for a variety of business endeavors, rather than an actual guild organized by tradespeople who practice the same craft. Their board members include representatives from Disney and Microsoft, not exactly the most labor-friendly businesses out there, to put it mildly.
So look, while we support and applaud any good-faith attempt to advocate, as CGA claims, “to ensure best practices, fair treatment, and industry transparency,” we also call on them and any other professional service to be transparent about what industry they actually represent.
Creators deserve a real guild…it’s just not this one.
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