On Friday, the Governor of Illinois announced he signed into law SB1782, a novel law which amends Illinois’s Child Labor Law to “create a private right of action for child influencers against their parents that featured them in videos and did not properly compensate them,” according to a press release issued by the Illinois Governor’s office.
But the law doesn’t just extend to children and their parents. Rather, the law, which goes into effect July 1, 2024, requires that vloggers (defined as an individual or family that creates video content, performed in Illinois, in exchange for compensation but not individuals under 16 who produce their own vlogs) who include the likeness, name, or photograph of a minor in their video content compensate the minor in certain situations.
Vloggers are required to compensate minors who appear in their content if the following criteria are met at any point during a 12 month period:
- The minor featured is under the age of 16
- At least 30% of the vlogger’s compensated video content produced within a 30-day period includes the likeness, name, or photograph of the minor (which is measured based on the percentage of time the minor visually appears or is the subject of an oral narrative, as compared to the total length of a video segment).
- The vlogger received actual compensation for the video content equal to or greater than $0.10 per view per video segment (or, the number of views received per video segment on any online platform meets the online platform’s threshold for the generation of compensation equal to or greater than $0.10)
If the above criteria are met, a vlogger is required to compensate the minor(s) by setting aside a portion of the gross earnings on the applicable video content to be put in a trust fund for the benefit of the minor when they reach the age of majority. The law requires that the minor(s) who meet the above criteria are entitled to at least half of the gross earnings on any video segment that includes the minor such that it satisfied the 30% threshold. If more than one minor is included, and they’re included in the same video segment together, that amount can be divided amongst them (even if they didn’t all appear in the video segment for equal durations).
The law also includes record-keeping requirements and gives the minor a private right of action against any vlogger who knowingly or recklessly fails to properly compensate the minor – entitling them to seek not only actual damages but also punitive damages and costs including attorneys’ fees. Notably, the law exempts vloggers utilizing minors under 16 in vlog content from obtaining employment certificates (i.e. work permits) although the record keeping requirement is fairly substantial.
The new Illinois law is part of a growing trend to crack down on the way that children participate in and use social media. But, Illinois’s is the first this year to give children additional rights with respect to their social media presence: Two other laws passed this year, in Arkansas and Utah, place restrictions on children’s’ use of social media, requiring that they obtain parental consent in order to hold accounts, and, in Utah’s case, restricting the hours they may use social media and the features they have access to.
Brands and agencies engaging content creators who may include minors in their content should – in addition to securing the proper permissions to feature minors – make clear that the creator is responsible for compliance with this new law and for making any payments associated.
While the new law is aimed at families and ensuring that parents properly compensate their children for appearing in video content, brands and agencies should also be mindful of existing state child performer laws, some of which define services broadly enough to potentially include children appearing in influencer content and to implicate permit, trust and hours of service limits.