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2 items from 2016

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

11 February 2016 9:15 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

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. »

- Dave McNary

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

26 January 2016 6:09 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

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. »

- Dave McNary

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