Writers Guild of America Pays Foreign Levies for Adult Screenplays

Sep 10, 2010 6:00 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — In another sign of the mainstreaming of adult entertainment, the Writers Guild of America is recognizing porn screenplay writers in the form of checks for foreign levies.

According to the WGA, foreign levies are “fees collected in some foreign countries to compensate rights holders for the copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs. The rights holders under foreign law include the ‘authors’ of motion pictures and television programs.”

One prominent adult industry writer/director recently collected foreign levies from movies he wrote several years ago.

“Just recently the Writer’s Guild contacted me in a roundabout way and said, 'Hey, we have money for you,'" XBIZ Award-winning writer/director Brad Armstrong said. "This was for movies that were ancient, like from 2004 and 2000 that have just been sitting around there.”

The Western division of the WGA now has a page set up for writers to search their pen names to see if there are foreign levies that have gone unclaimed for any of their movie scripts.

Armstong, who has written more than 130 scripts in his career including the one for Wicked Pictures' soon-to-be-released "Speed," said he was contacted by an agent that knew Wicked Girl Jessica Drake. He said that his contact also noted there were unclaimed checks for well-established industry writers such as Raven Touchstone, and even the late David Aaron Clark, whose beneficiary would be eligible to collect.

"Some of the other writers in adult may have some money waiting for them," Armstrong continued. "Writers that have been around for years and years probably have some foreign levies sitting there.”

Armstrong said the amount of money he got for the handful of scripts was “not a fortune, but it’s not chump change either.”

“So somebody like Raven Touchstone who’s written hundreds of scripts may have some money. A whole lot of it depends on which titles they were and where they aired,” he said.

There are now 17 countries in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), one country in Latin America (Argentina), and one country in Asia (Japan) remitting levies to the WGA's Western division.

“The people handling the foreign levies don’t know the person's real name if they are writing under a pen name,” he pointed out.

“Guys like Cash Markman. All those guys who’ve been writing for years and years may have built up a little nest egg there.”

For more information on how to search the WGA site for foreign levies due, click here.

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