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SAG-aftra’s Funds Held in Trust Jump 7.1% to $183.9 Million

SAG-aftra’s funds held in trust for others have increased by 7.1% to $183.9 million since last year, according to the union’s latest filing with the federal government.

Those funds have been at the center of a long-running dispute, dating back to a 2007 suit filed by Ken Osmond (“Leave It to Beaver”) over how foreign levies are handled by the union. Osmond settled his suit in 2011.

The disclosure of the increase came in the July 31 filing of SAG-aftra’s Lm-2 report with the U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year that ended on April 30 in the category of “funds held in trust for others.” The 2016 report showed a 4.5% gain in the funds held for others to $171.4 million; the 2015 report showed a 7.5% hike to $164.3 million; the 2014 report listed those funds at $153.04 million, a 16% jump from 2013’s figure of $132.26 million.

A SAG-aftra spokesperson said Tuesday in response to a question from Variety: “The growth is due to increased
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-AFTRA’s Funds Held in Trust Jump 4.5% to $171.7 Million

SAG-aftra’s funds held in trust for others have increased by 4.5% to $171.7 million since last year, according to the union’s latest filing with the federal government.

Those funds have been at the center of a long-running dispute, dating back to a 2007 suit filed by Ken Osmond (“Leave It to Beaver”) over how foreign royalties and residuals are handled by the union.

The disclosure came in the July 29 filing of SAG-aftra’s Lm-2 report with the U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year that ended on April 30 in the category of “funds held in trust for others.” The 2015 report showed a 7.5% gain in the funds held for others to $164.3 million; the 2014 report listed those funds at $153.04 million, a 16% jump from 2013’s figure of $132.26 million. In 2014, the union insisted that the majority of funds held in trust relate to production security deposits and residuals reserves — and that only a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Seeks Senate Approval of Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances

SAG-aftra has backed President Barack Obama’s move to seek U.S. Senate ratification of the 4-year-old Beijing treaty protecting the intellectual property rights of audiovisual performers.

SAG-aftra’s elected leadership and staff, as well as representatives from our industry partners and delegates from around the world, have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to reach this point,” said SAG-aftra national executive director David White. “The Senate should move quickly to ratify this treaty, bringing us closer to equal rights for performers regardless of media and across national boundaries.”

The performers union gave a strong endorsement in 2012 of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. The accord is touted as extending rights to actors over the reuse of their work, images and likenesses outside the U.S., but has not yet taken effect because it has been ratified by only eight of the 30 countries needed.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Hit With Costs Over ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Actor’s Lawsuit

A federal appeals court panel has ruled SAG-aftra is on the hook for the $330,000 it paid to Ken Osmond and his attorneys five years ago to settle his class-action suit over foreign tax revenues.

In a Jan. 15 ruling, the three-judge panel denied the union’s appeal of a 2013 ruling siding with the Federal Insurance Co., which refused to reimburse the funds paid to the “Leave It to Beaver” actor.

It’s the latest development in a long-running dispute over “foreign levies,” which are collected for performers from countries through mechanisms such as taxes on video sales and rentals to compensate copyright holders for reuse.

SAG, the WGA and the DGA began collecting the funds in the early 1990s on behalf of members and nonmembers. Starting in 2005, several legal actions have been filed over alleged mishandling of the funds with SAG-aftra brushing off the allegations and insisting it’s done nothing wrong.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Funds Held in Trust Jump 7.5% to $164.3 Million

SAG-aftra’s funds held in trust for others have jumped by 7.5% to $164.3 million since last year, according to the union’s latest filing with the federal government.

Those funds have been at the center of a long-running dispute, dating back to a 2007 suit filed by Ken Osmond (“Leave It to Beaver”) over how foreign royalties and residuals are handled by the union.

The disclosure came in Monday’s filing of SAG-aftra’s Lm-2 report with the U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year that ended April 30 in the category of “Funds Held in Trust for Others.” The 2014 report listed those funds at $153.04 million, a 16% jump from 2013’s figure of $132.26 million.

SAG-aftra was not immediately available for comment. In 2014, the union insisted that the majority of funds held in trust relate to production security deposits and residuals reserves — and that only a very small portion of these funds relate to foreign royalties.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

DGA, WGA Extend Foreign Levies Agreements with MPAA

DGA, WGA Extend Foreign Levies Agreements with MPAA
The Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America have each extended their Foreign Levies Agreements with the MPAA for three years.

The agreements have resulted in distribution of more than $310 million over the past two decades to directors and writers, according to the unions.

Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the MPAA, confirmed that the agreements have been extended until the end of 2017. The guilds had no immediate comment.

The agreements, which were set to expire on Dec. 31, cover funds collected outside the U.S. to compensate writers and directors. The DGA has paid out $160 million of those funds to to directors, according to its web site; the WGA West said in July in its annual report to members that it had paid out $151.7 million since 1993.

The foreign levies for U.S. creatives began to flow after the U.S. agreement in 1989 to terms of the Berne Convention,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Funds Held in Trust Jump 16% to $153 Million

SAG-AFTRA’s funds held in trust have jumped by 16% to $153 million since last year, according to the union’s latest filing with the federal government.

Those funds have been at the center of a long-running dispute, dating back to a 2007 suit filed by Ken Osmond (“Leave It to Beaver”) over how foreign royalties and residuals are handled by the union.

The disclosure came in Tuesday’s filing of SAG-AFTRA’s Lm-2 report with he U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year ended April 30, which listed that the “Funds Held in Trust for Others” category at $153.04 million. The previous year’s figure was $132.26 million.

Asked about the increase, a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in response: “The majority of funds held in trust relate to production security deposits and residuals reserves — funds that will be returned to producers unless they breach their obligations under SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

2014 Trial Date Set For $130M SAG-aftra Foreign Residuals Lawsuit

  • Deadline TV
The initial suit may have been severely trimmed, but the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against SAG-aftra by former SAG president Ed Asner and the 15 members of the self-titled United Screen Actors Committee now has a trial date: June 24, 2014. District Judge Manuel Real set the date today (read it here), 10 days after the federal judge granted SAG-aftra’s motion to dismiss large portion of the suit over $130 million in allegedly improperly dispersed foreign residuals. The plaintiffs first filed their suit on May 24. The union has called the claims “completely without merit” and a “virtual verbatim restatement” of the 2007 class action by Ken Osmond of Leave It To Beaver fame and other actors accusing SAG of not properly paying out $8.1 million in overseas royalties. That case was resolved in 2010 with a settlement. Still, Judge Real did not cut residuals from the current case and has given three of the original 16 plaintiffs who opted out
See full article at Deadline TV »

Ed Asner, SAG-aftra Trial Date Set for $130 Mil Suit

SAG-aftra is facing a June 24 jury trial in the lawsuit filed against the union by Ed Asner and 15 other members over alleged mishandling of $130 million in residuals and foreign royalties.

U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real set the trial date on Thursday, 10 days after he narrowed the issues in a hearing in his Los Angeles courtroom.

Judge Real set May 19 as the final pre-trial conference and said memoranda of contentions of facts and law, exhibit lists and witness lists would have to be filed by April 28 — which will also serve as the discovery cut-off date.

Attorneys for the union have labeled the suit “frivolous” and a “waste of time,” but the plaintiffs have pledged that they will proceed.

The suit alleges that SAG-aftra has improperly withheld funds and stonewalled requests for information about $130 million held in trust by the union — including domestic residuals and foreign royalties collected by the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Celebrates Partial Win in Royalties Suit

SAG-aftra said it got what it asked for after a court ruling Monday significantly reduced the scope of a lawsuit filed by a group led by Ed Asner. In July the union petitioned the court to reduce the scope of Asner's suit, asserting in part that his group's claims are a recycling of allegations made in a separate case by "Leave it to Beaver" star Ken Osmond. That suit was settled in 2010. In a hearing in Los Angeles on Monday, a federal judge granted SAG-aftra's motion to dismiss the vast majority of the plaintiff’s complaint. “We applaud the judge’s action today," Bob Bush, SAG-aftra's counsel, stated. "We basically got everything we asked for and the vast bulk of the plaintiff’s frivolous complaint has been dismissed, as it should have been.” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-aftra's general counsel, added: “We’re very pleased the court granted our
See full article at Backstage »

Judge Narrows Issues in SAG-aftra Case

A federal judge has dismissed part of the lawsuit filed against SAG-aftra by Ed Asner and 15 other members over alleged mishandling of $130 million in residuals and foreign royalties.

The 30-minute hearing before Judge Manuel Real brought sharp reactions from the parties, underscoring the high stakes involved.

Attorneys for the union declared vindication and labeled the suit “frivolous” but the plaintiffs indicated that they will proceed. And plaintiffs’ attorney Sunny Wise said she plans to file a second suit alleging corruption and breach of fiduciary duty against SAG-aftra national exec director David White and Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

“We’re not walking away from this,” Wise added.

The prospect of another suit evoked a pointed rebuke from Crabtree-Ireland, who asserted that the Asner litigation is a waste of SAG-aftra’s funds.

“Regrettably, it appears that the plaintiffs may choose to litigate the remnants of their complaint resulting
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Judge Narrows Issues in SAG-aftra Case

A federal judge has dismissed part of the lawsuit filed against SAG-aftra by Ed Asner and 15 other members over alleged mishandling of $130 million in residuals and foreign royalties.

The 30-minute hearing before Judge Manuel Real brought sharp reactions from the parties, underscoring the high stakes involved.

Attorneys for the union declared vindication and labeled the suit “frivolous” but the plaintiffs indicated that they will proceed. And plaintiffs’ attorney Sunny Wise said she plans to file a second suit alleging corruption and breach of fiduciary duty against SAG-aftra national exec director David White and Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.

“We’re not walking away from this,” Wise added.

The prospect of another suit evoked a pointed rebuke from Crabtree-Ireland, who asserted that the Asner litigation is a waste of SAG-aftra’s funds.

“Regrettably, it appears that the plaintiffs may choose to litigate the remnants of their complaint resulting
See full article at Variety - Film News »

George Clooney Named As Potential Witness In SAG-aftra Suit

George Clooney, Natalie Portman and Justin Timberlake are among the potential witnesses listed by Ed Asner and the 15 other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against SAG-aftra over $130 million in unpaid funds.

Thursday’s serving of the witness list comes a week and half before an Oct. 7 hearing in federal court over the union’s motion for a dismissal of the suit, which alleges extensive misconduct by the union in how it has handled foreign royalties and residuals. SAG-aftra has repeatedly brushed off the suit’s allegations and insisted it has done nothing wrong.

The plaintiffs — who have alleged that SAG and AFTRA have not made significant efforts to locate high-profile actors to pay the royalties and residuals — have named more than two dozen highly recognizable thesps as possible witnesses including Clooney, Portman and Timberlake.

Other possible witnesses include Julie Andrews, Gael Garcia Bernal, Nancy Sinatra, Anderson Cooper, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Goodman,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

George Clooney Named As Potential Witness In SAG-aftra Suit

George Clooney, Natalie Portman and Justin Timberlake are among the potential witnesses listed by Ed Asner and the 15 other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against SAG-aftra over $130 million in unpaid funds.

Thursday’s serving of the witness list comes a week and half before an Oct. 7 hearing in federal court over the union’s motion for a dismissal of the suit, which alleges extensive misconduct by the union in how it has handled foreign royalties and residuals. SAG-aftra has repeatedly brushed off the suit’s allegations and insisted it has done nothing wrong.

The plaintiffs — who have alleged that SAG and AFTRA have not made significant efforts to locate high-profile actors to pay the royalties and residuals — have named more than two dozen highly recognizable thesps as possible witnesses including Clooney, Portman and Timberlake.

Other possible witnesses include Julie Andrews, Gael Garcia Bernal, Nancy Sinatra, Anderson Cooper, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Goodman,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

SAG-aftra Lawsuit: Union Slammed for Over $130 Million In Unpaid Funds

Ed Asner and the 15 other plaintiffs in the SAG-aftra lawsuit over $130 million in unpaid funds from foreign royalties and residuals have blasted the union’s efforts to dismiss the action, alleging that leaders are “clearly indifferent” to federal requirements of accountability and transparency.

“These requirements have been ignored deliberately, placing the pecuniary interests of the union above those of its members,” the filing said.

The union’s dismissal motion is set to be heard Oct. 7 before U.S. District Court Judge Manual Real in Los Angeles.

The suit was filed May 24 and alleges extensive misconduct in handling of foreign levies and residuals they are owed. The union has repeatedly brushed off the suit, denying wrongdoing and asserting that it was “very proud” of its unclaimed residuals and foreign royalties program and that actors would not have received their funds without the union’s efforts.

SAG-aftra responded on July 31 by asserting
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Lawsuit: Union Slammed for Over $130 Million In Unpaid Funds

Ed Asner and the 15 other plaintiffs in the SAG-aftra lawsuit over $130 million in unpaid funds from foreign royalties and residuals have blasted the union’s efforts to dismiss the action, alleging that leaders are “clearly indifferent” to federal requirements of accountability and transparency.

“These requirements have been ignored deliberately, placing the pecuniary interests of the union above those of its members,” the filing said.

The union’s dismissal motion is set to be heard Oct. 7 before U.S. District Court Judge Manual Real in Los Angeles.

The suit was filed May 24 and alleges extensive misconduct in handling of foreign levies and residuals they are owed. The union has repeatedly brushed off the suit, denying wrongdoing and asserting that it was “very proud” of its unclaimed residuals and foreign royalties program and that actors would not have received their funds without the union’s efforts.

SAG-aftra responded on July 31 by asserting
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Battle Escalates Over $100 Million-Plus Of SAG-aftra Funds

The battle over SAG-aftra’s funds held in trust has escalated in the wake of Ed Asner’s lawsuit alleging misconduct over how the union handles over $100 million of such monies.

The long-running firefight, dating back to a 2007 lawsuit filed by “Leave It to Beaver” actor Ken Osmond, received additional fuel via SAG-aftra’s Lm-2 report filed last week with the U.S. Department of Labor. The report for the fiscal year ended April 30 listed that the “Funds Held in Trust for Others” category totalled $132.26 million.

That’s a substantial increase over the funds listed in last year’s reports from SAG and AFTRA, which merged in March, 2012. SAG’s fiscal 2012 report listed $100.48 million for the same item while the AFTRA LM2 national report listed a total of $11 million including $7.53 million of funds due to members that the union could not locate.

None of the reports broke down the funds further.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Fires Back In $110M Foreign Residuals Lawsuit

  • Deadline TV
More than two months after former union president Ed Asner and over a dozen others filed suit claiming the union had not properly disbursed $110 million in foreign residuals, SAG-aftra today took formal aim at their case. In a motion filed Wednesday in federal court (read it here), SAG-aftra argues it should be dismissed. “What plaintiffs fail to mention in the 52 pages of their complaint is that much of the challenges they raise to SAG-aftra’s residuals collection and distribution programs has already been resolved in a judicially approved settlement of virtually identical allegations in a class action lawsuit,” says the nearly 30-page filing. “The instant lawsuit is a virtual verbatim restatement of the settled Osmond litigation,” it adds. That 2007 action by Ken Osmond of Leave It To Beaver fame and other actors was resolved back in 2010. They had accused SAG at the time of not properly paying out $8.1 million in overseas royalties.
See full article at Deadline TV »

SAG-aftra Seeks Dismissal Of Ed Asner Suit Over Unpaid Funds

SAG-aftra has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by former SAG president Ed Asner and 16 others, which alleged extensive misconduct in its handling of foreign levies and residuals they are owed.

The motion was filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, asserting that the plaintiffs — who filed as member of the United Screen Actors Committee — lack the standing to litigate the issues. The motion, which will be heard Oct. 7, also asserted that the issues have already been settled three years ago in a class-action lawsuit filed by “Leave It to Beaver” actor Ken Osmond.

“What plaintiffs fail to mention in the 52 pages of their complaint is that much of the challenges they raise to SAG-aftra’s residuals collection and istribution programs has already been resolved in a judicially approved settlement of virtually identical allegations in a class action lawsuit,” the union said. “While it isd generally a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

SAG-aftra Stuck With Tab on Suit by ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Actor

SAG-aftra Stuck With Tab on Suit by ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Actor
A federal judge has ruled SAG-aftra is on the hook for the $330,000 it paid to Ken Osmond and his attorneys to settle his class-action suit over foreign tax revenues.

The union had sued Federal Insurance Co. in Los Angeles in 2011 for refusing to reimburse the funds paid to the “Leave It to Beaver” actor.

U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee granted Federal Insurance’s motion for summary judgment on Thursday to settle Ken Osmond’s class-action suit over foreign tax revenues.

“In this case, SAG’s own coverage position and assertions lead to but one result, which is that, insofar as SAG is and was, prior to the Osmond action, obligated to account for and distribute the foreign levy funds to the plaintiff class, SAG fails to establish that the $330,000 award arises from a ‘covered’ claim under the policy,” she wrote.

The suit alleged that Federal was in breach
See full article at Variety - TV News »
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