EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood’s guilds and production companies have now collected more than $1 billion in foreign levies, a milestone that’s taken 26 years to reach.
The latest WGA report notes that the guild collected a record $24.5 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, and more than $250 million since the program began in 1992. Half of all levies collected go to the MPAA’s member companies, and the other half is split between the WGA and the DGA. Thus, $250 million for the WGA means that the DGA has also collected $250 million, with $500 million going to the MPAA companies.
SAG-AFTRA gets a small piece of the MPAA companies’ share. As of 2016, the last year for which data is available, SAG-AFTRA had collected $41 million since 1997, and by now has probably topped $50 million – about 10% of the MPAA companies’ share.
The latest WGA report (read it here) also notes that the guild has earned nearly $10 million on investment income and interest on the levies it’s collected. To date, the WGA has paid out more than $215 million to its members.
The foreign levies flow from Japan, Argentina and 16 European countries that have adopted copyright laws that compensate the “authors” of films and TV shows for the home taping, rental and cable retransmission of their work.