The state of Illinois has passed a new law that requires parents to pay child influencers a percentage of earnings from every piece of content.
On Friday, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker signed a bill amending the state’s Child Labor Law.
The law will now allow teenagers over the age of 18 to take legal action against their parents if they were not properly compensated for being featured in monetized social media videos, as reported by CNN.
Beginning in July 2024, parents in the state will have to put half of earnings from a piece of content into a blocked trust fund. This is based on the percentage of time the child is featured in the content, so if a child is in 100% of a video, they should receive 50% of the funds. However, this will only apply if the child appears on-screen for more than 30% of the videos over a year period.
According to NBC News, content creators who fail to comply could be sued for damages.
The new law comes after 16-year-old Shreya Nallamothu from Normal, Illinois, wrote a letter to her state senator, Democrat Dave Koehler, last year. In her letter, Nallamothu asked Koehler to consider legislation protecting child influencers, per CNN.
“We understand that parents should receive compensation too because they have equity in this, but we don’t want to forget about the child,” Koehler told the outlet.
“We often see with emerging technology and trends that legislation is always a reaction to that,” he continued. “But we know with the explosion of social media that parents are using it to monetize kids being on videos. If money is being made and nothing is set up for the children, it’s the same thing as a child actor.”
Currently, parents have no legal obligation to give their children any proportion of the earnings from social media content.
According to NBC News, the new law is similar to the 1939 California Child Actor’s Bill, also known as the Coogan Act, after silent actor Jackie Coogan.
The Addams Family actor took his parents to court after they spent all of the earnings he made from being a child star, according to Collider.
The Coogan Act aims to protect the earnings of child performers and requires parents to put aside 15% of their child’s earnings into a blocked trust fund that they can access after they turn 18, per CNN.
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