HOLLYWOOD—As pretty much everyone knows, the United States is hardly the only market for American XXX product—but what they may not know is that the foreign countries that buy American-made movies are charged a levy for each blank DVD, CD or video or audio tape that could be used to copy such movies, even if such copying is done completely legally, say for sale in stores or for broadcast on cable or even regular TV.
And it's one of the jobs of both the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) West, which negotiated those agreements with the foreign buyers, to collect those levies and hold them for distribution to the directors and screenwriters to whom they are owed—even if those directors and writers are not members of either guild.
AVN was recently contacted by both organizations, seeking information on the whereabouts of their debtors so they can send them the money owed—and for some, that could turn out to be a pretty penny!
"The WGA receives foreign copyright royalty monies (aka: foreign levies) on behalf of member of the WGA and non-members for projects signatory and non-signatory to the WGA," explained Edgar Landa of the WGA's Foreign Levies Department. "Some of this money is for writers and directors in the adult film industry. Many of these names are AKAs and therefore impossible to track down through the many resources we have at our disposal. I am unable to tell you how many adult film writers we are looking for or what kind of dollar amounts we are talking about since we don’t really keep track of the data in those terms. I can tell you that it can be anywhere from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars or more."
Indeed; the WGA website describes the situation as follows: "The following is a list of writers for whom the WGAW is holding foreign levies but lacks sufficient information to permit distribution. Most of these writers have never been members of the Guild or worked under a WGA collective bargaining agreement. If your name is on the list, or if you are the heir or beneficiary of a writer whose name appears on the list, you may file an online claim form by going to wga.org/foreignlevies or contacting the Foreign Levies Department at 323-782-4672. You may also contact the Guild if you have any information about any writer on the list."
As it did in 2011, AVN took a quick look at the voluminous list of scripters for whom the WGA is holding money, and besides some familiar names such as Roscoe Arbuckle, Willis O'Brien, Sax Rohmer and Thea Von Harbou, we found quite a few adult screenwriters to whom money is owed. Sadly, some are deceased, but if anyone knows anyone on the list below, or in the case of those who have passed away, their relatives, the WGA would appreciate being contacted so they can pay the monies either to the writer him/herself or to that person's estate. Some of those below have names similar to adult writers, so we've included them for the sake of completeness:
David Aaron Clark
John (Jack?) Gallagher
Ginger Lynn Allen
Edward (Ted?) Paramore
Jim Powers (also under real name)
Jacques (Jack?) Remy
Steve Stevens (under his real name)
Likewise, the Director's Guild has its own lists of names, divided into two categories: Those to whom less than $50 is owed, and those who are owed more than $50.
The DGA website explains the procedure as follows:
"The following is a list of all non-DGA member directors to whom at least $25 of foreign levies have been assigned, but not yet paid. Directors who are owed at least $25 and less than $50 are on one list, and directors owed at least $50 are on the second list. To efficiently manage the foreign levies program, the Guild's priority is to find those directors who are owed more than $50 in foreign levies. An active search is conducted once a director's accrued foreign levies reaches that amount.
"Because these directors are not DGA members, the Guild has no internal base of information from which to contact them and must start from scratch to find them. The DGA has employees whose work includes locating non-member directors (or their beneficiaries) who are entitled to foreign levies. The DGA has also employed the services of an outside search firm to locate directors (or their beneficiaries) to whom foreign levies are owed. Even with these extensive efforts, many non-member directors (or their beneficiaries) have been very difficult to find and, even when located, many have not responded to our letters. For these reasons, there are examples on this list of prominent individuals and their estates who have been contacted multiple times, but have not responded to our inquiries.
"In the case of some of the deceased directors listed, their estates are involved in protracted probate litigation or other legal disputes preventing anyone from claiming the director's entitlement. In other cases, the beneficiaries have been identified, located, and contacted, but have not responded and thus not yet been paid.
"This website list has been created as an additional tool the Guild is using to reach the directors (or their beneficiaries) who have not yet been located, so that they, or anyone who has information about them, can contact the DGA.
"If you are a non-member director on this list, or know how one of the directors on this list can be reached, please contact our Foreign Levies Department: 310-289-5328 or email@example.com."
Again, AVN sifted through the lists of names and recognized the following, though neither the WGA nor the DGA list should be considered definitive; we could easily have missed some people, especially if they are listed under their real names:
Less than $50:
John T. Bone
$50 or more:
Alex De Renzy
Melissa Monet (under her real name)
Lauren Montgomery (probably not our Lauren but who knows?)
So if our readers know any of the above writers/directors, please let them know they have money waiting for them!
Pictured: Two of these three directors' estates are owed money!