California AB2257 allows “performance artists” to remain independent contractors without AB5 interference

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5)–which has impacted cam models on Streamate and in particular–now covers fewer gig workers after California AB2257 passed last week. AB2257 has been nicknamed the “AB5 Clean Up Bill”, and includes several exemptions for specific industries who rely heavily on independent contractors, including the film and music industries, who both heavily lobbied legislators to include specific exemptions.

The exemption that would most likely apply to independent webcam models is the “performance artist” category. “An individual performance artist performing material that is their original work and creative in character and the result of which depends primarily on the individual’s invention, imagination, or talent” is exempt from the conditions of AB5, and the description of such performers seems applicable to cam models.

There are, however, conditions that performers and the companies hiring them must meet in order to qualify to the exemption. The performer must be “free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both as a matter of contract and in fact” and must be “free to accept or reject each individual performance engagement without being penalized in any form by the hiring entity”. Additionally, the performer must retain “rights to their intellectual property that was created in connection with the performance”–a condition that may be problematic for some cam sites currently, as many sites claim copyright over the performer’s stream as part of their Terms of Service.

It remains to be seen whether the passing of AB2257 will result in Californian performers regaining access to sites that discontinued their contracts after AB5 passed, or whether other sites will amend their TOS documentation to reflect the new conditions set out by AB2257.

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