The producers of Gods of Egypt have dropped a clause in the crew contracts which would have enabled them to access employees’ work computers, emails and files.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance objected to this provision as unlawful and a breach of its members' privacy.

The producers had sought the right to carry out intermittent surveillance of crew members’ work-related computers including records of internet sites and pages visited, files downloaded, video and audio files accessed and data input during work hours or for work purposes.

The union said this clause would breach the NSW Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 because the surveillance methods had not been disclosed, the surveillance was unauthorised and it would capture the personal devices and equipment of the personal property of employees and contractors.

“While the MEAA understands that producers take certain steps to preserve and protect the intellectual property associated with productions, this clause well exceeds any reasonable standard of vigilance by a producer and his or her representatives,” it told producers.

The MEAA indicated that if the clause were not removed it would instruct its members not to sign the employment contract.

Subsequently the producers informed the union that while it does not accept the contention that the clause would breach the Workplace Surveillance Act it had decided to remove the clause and would duly inform employees.

Malcolm Tulloch, Director of the Entertainment, Crew and Sport section of the MEAA, told IF that was the first time in his experience that producers had sought the right to carry out that form of surveillance of crews.

“We welcome the producers’ decision to take a step back from the extreme position they had,” he said. “We thought it was something that needed to be challenged. It is not in the spirit or the intent of the legislation that protects those workers.”

Alex Proyas’ $150 million fantasy action-adventure is shooting at the Fox Studios. The cast includes Gerard Butler, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Bryan Brown, Rachael Blake, Robyn Nevin, Bruce Spence and Emma Booth.

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