Movie studios curbing actors' use of social media

Hollywood appears to be cracking down on the use of social media. Studios have placed clauses into contracts limiting celebrities' abilities to discuss their films, according to news reports.

If you're expecting to get updates from celebrities on all their latest movies, you might be disappointed: Hollywood might be trying to curb celebrity use of social networks.

A Hollywood Reporter blog post recently reported that "there's a growing number of studio deals with new language aimed specifically at curbing usage of social-media outlets by actors, execs and other creatives." The studios hope confidential information about the films they're producing won't leak out on major social networks.

The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog reported that both Disney and DreamWorks have already added clauses to their talent contracts. A clause from Disney says that the actor should not make information available "via 'interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog.'"

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For its part, DreamWorks said Wednesday that no such clause exists in its talent contracts. "Everyone is allowed to use Twitter and other social networks," a company representative told me in a phone conversation.

It was originally believed that Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers were among the first celebrities to be affected by a reportedly new anti-social-media clause included in talent contracts from major studios.

According to DreamWorks, all of its contracts for anyone involved in a movie feature standard, "boilerplate" language saying the signer cannot mention their work on the movie until the studio has made an official announcement. After that, everyone working on the film (including celebrities), are free to talk about their films on any social-media platform.

In the end, it's not all that surprising that the film industry might be targeting social media. Earlier this year, the National Football League made its social-media policy public . That policy banned tweeting prior, during, and after a game for all players, coaches, referees, and media on-hand.

But whether targeting social networks is really the right move is up for debate. The Hollywood Reporter said that the new clauses might have been a reaction to leaks by celebrities tweeting information before it was supposed to come out. Paula Abdul, the publication said, announced her decision on Twitter to leave "American Idol," surprising Fox executives. Hollywood is trying to limit such leaks going forward.

It's understandable. And Hollywood has always limited what the talent can say about films. But is social media really the best target? Is it not a fine promotional tool? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Updated at 9:43 a.m. Wednesday PDT to include comments from DreamWorks.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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