California Judge Approves SAG Foreign-Levies Settlement

The class-action lawsuit filed by "Leave it to Beaver" actor Ken Osmond in 2007 over the union's handling of foreign royalties appears to have come to a close.

The long legal battle over the Screen Actors Guild's handling of foreign royalties appears to have come to a close. Variety reports that a California state judge gave final approval late Friday to a settlement of the class-action lawsuit filed by actor Ken Osmond -- best known for playing Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver -- against the guild in 2007. Osmond had contended that SAG lacked the authority to collect royalties on behalf of its members. The Writers Guild of America West and the Directors Guild of America have faced and settled similar lawsuits from its own members in recent years.

According to SAG's website, royalties on foreign levies are money collected in other countries "to compensate for private copying (home taping), cable retransmissions, video rentals, and other uses of audiovisual works." The guild claims to have collected $18.1 million on behalf of members, and thus far distributed $8.78 million. Under the settlement, SAG must bring in an outside consultant to review its distribution program and make "reasonable efforts" to distribute 90-percent of funds collected in the next three years.

Last month, the guild rolled out its online foreign royalties tracker, which is intended to allow anyone due royalties to search by name for the amount owed. Performers due $10 or more should be issued checks automatically. Those due fewer than $10 can request that a check be issued.