×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Suit slams DGA’s foreign take

Webb sues guild over non-member fees

William Webb has sued the Directors Guild of America over its practice of collecting foreign levies for helmers who aren’t DGA members.

Webb alleges in the action that the DGA began making foreign collections in 1991 on monies due to copyright holders, such as taxes on video rentals or purchases of blank videocassettes and DVDs.

The DGA said the suit was baseless and it would “vigorously” defend itself.

Suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges the DGA has no authority to collect the funds for non-members, hasn’t communicated that information to the affected directors and hasn’t paid them. Action seeks the monies collected, unspecified damages and interest.

“One would never know that the DGA is collecting these monies on behalf of non-members,” Webb alleges in the suit. “No public information is available regarding these monies and the procedures by which a non-member could collect these monies.”

Webb, who asserts he’s never been a DGA member, is seeking class-action status for the suit and asserting the allegations cover at least 1,000 directors. He alleged specifically that the DGA collected foreign levies due to him on “Delta Fever,” released domestically in 1987, and “The Hit List,” a TV pic that first aired in the U.S. in 1993, but has not paid him.

Suit also noted the guild takes an unspecified commission as a fee for collection and distribution of foreign levies.

In a statement issued Sunday, the DGA said, “Although the guild does not generally comment on pending litigation, the DGA has spent considerable time and effort to distribute tens of millions of dollars received from foreign collection societies to guild members and non-members alike. The guild considers the lawsuit completely baseless.”

Writer-director William Richert filed a similar suit last year against the Writers Guild of America, West, over its practice of collecting foreign levies for writers who aren’t WGA members.

Richert alleged in the action that the WGA began making foreign collections in 1991 on monies due to copyright holders.

The Richert suit, also filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also alleged the WGA has no authority to collect the funds for non-members, hasn’t communicated that information to the affected writers and hasn’t paid them. Richert sought class-action status for the suit and asserted the allegations cover at least 1,000 writers.

WGA officials said at the time that the suit was without merit and that the guild’s authority to collect the funds for non-members stems from the initial agreements it struck in the late 1980s with the collection agencies.

More Film

  • Aladdin

    China Box Office: 'Aladdin' Opens on Top With $19 Million Weekend

    Disney’s “Aladdin” opened on top of the Chinese box office with a less than magical $18.7 million debut weekend. According to data from Artisan Gateway, the film beat previous chart winner “Detective Pikachu” which earned $7.5 million in its third weekend. That score advances the cumulative China total for “Pikachu” to $83.3 million. The Guy [...]

  • 'Nina Wu' Review: Stylish, Glitchy, Provocative

    Cannes Film Review: 'Nina Wu'

    “They don’t just want to take my body, they want to take my soul!” So runs the overripe line of dialogue that actress Nina Wu (Wu Kexi) has to repeat again and again in “Nina Wu,” the fascinating, glitchy, stylish, and troublesome new film from Taiwanese director Midi Z (“The Road to Mandalay”). Nina practices [...]

  • 'All About Yves" Review: Feeble French

    Cannes Film Review: 'All About Yves'

    Benoit Forgeard’s dorky “All About Yves,” bizarrely chosen as the closing film of 2019’s Directors’ Fortnight selection in Cannes, is literally about an intelligent refrigerator that ascends to Eurovision fame as a rapper. Imagine Spike Jonze’s “Her” played for the cheapest of laughs, shorn of atmosphere, and absent all melancholic insight into our relationship with [...]

  • 'The Bare Necessity' Review: Offbeat, Charming

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Bare Necessity'

    A perfectly charmant way to, as the song has it, forget about your worries and your strife for 100 airy minutes, writer-director Erwan le Duc’s “The Bare Necessity” is a breezy little sweetheart of a debut, that threatens to give the rather ominous description “quirky French romantic comedy” a good name. In its dappled countryside [...]

  • Adam

    Cannes Film Review: 'Adam'

    With her debut feature “Adam,” Maryam Touzani allows her audience to sit back and relax comfortably into a beautifully made, character-driven little gem that knows when and how to touch all the right buttons. Taking the stories of two women, both frozen in existential stasis, and bringing them together in a predictable yet deeply satisfying [...]

  • 'To Live to Sing' Review: A

    Cannes Film Review: 'To Live to Sing'

    After his taut, impressive debut “Old Stone” which tracked with nightmarish relentlessness the high cost of compassion in modern urban China, Canadian-Chinese director Johnny Ma loosens his grip a little to deliver a softer, if not necessarily less pessimistic examination of the failing fortunes of a regional Sichuan Opera troupe. “To Live to Sing” is [...]

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content