In an article in a recent issue of Screen Actor magazine, the Screen Actors Guild announced that later this year more members will receive shares of $8 million that has been collected in foreign tax revenues. According to the article, only a "small portion" has already been distributed. Daily Variety reported that SAG communications executive director Pamela Greenwalt estimated the distributed amount to be about $250,000.
SAG said the delay in paying members is due to "lengthy" negotiations necessary to obtain the funds and the current revamping of its computer system to handle the distribution. "Because of the complexity of allocating lump-sum payments to the performers who are eligible to receive them under collecting society rules, it was necessary to design and develop special enhancements to the guild's computer system to handle these allocations," the Screen Actor article stated.
Foreign levies, which are collected from taxes on video sales and/or rentals to compensate copyright holders for reuse, have become a hot-button issue in the Hollywood guilds in the past two years. The Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America have been sued for allegedly mishandling funds from foreign levies. The WGA is also being sued by a former employee who alleges she was fired in retaliation for talking with government investigators about the funds.
Two months ago, actors Jack Klugman and Ken Osmond disclosed they would possibly sue SAG over allegedly owed foreign levies. Greenwalt told Variety that SAG is not aware of such legal action.