×
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

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take the Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content