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Screen Actors' Guild Union Settles Foreign Royalties Suit

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 15, 2010 10:03 AM

A settlement has been reached in the three year-old class action lawsuit with the Screen Actors' Guild Union over actors' European royalties. The suit, which sought royalties for money made through the sale of video rentals and blank media cable transmissions in Europe, was brought by Leave it to Beaver actor, Ken Osmond.

CBC News reports that tens of thousands of actors, writers, and directors will reap the financial benefits of the multi-million dollar settlement. In addition to judicial approval, the settlement documents require an independent audit of all Screen Actors' Guild European royalties since the 1980s.

The Guild issued a statement regarding the settlement (as well as their lack of any wrongdoing):

"Although we vehemently dispute the fundamental premise of the litigation, we are pleased to have resolved this dispute in its early stages. The Screen Actors' Guild is proud of its efforts to claim and distribute foreign royalties on behalf of our members ... money that would otherwise have gone unclaimed and been lost to them forever."

Thanks to Ken Osmond, thespians everywhere can consider the funds claimed.

To date, the Guild has distributed close to $8 million in European royalties to over 70,000 members. The settlement agreement directs how the remaining funds will be distributed for both past and future royalties. Royalties represent an additional form of income for an entertainer, and an actor can continue to make money for years following a production. As the American entertainment market becomes more global, this settlement will hopefully put an end to any future disputes, and set up an agreeable payment system for royalties which are likely to grow over time.

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