Foreign Levies Program Continues To Reap Benefits for Members

Foreign Levies Program Continues To Reap Benefits for Members

August 17, 2022

The DGA Foreign Levies program continues to be a success and a benefit for our members. Since its inception, $286 million has been distributed to Directors as part of the biannual distribution of the monies collected by the DGA from 21 countries around the world.

What Are Foreign Levies

These funds were collected per the Foreign Levies Agreement negotiated by the Guild more than 30 years ago when the DGA fought for and won the rights for our members to be compensated for the effects of copying, rental and retransmission of their films and television programs overseas. Often confused with residuals, foreign levies are a completely separate source of compensation to members with a unique history that underscores the importance of having strong representation fighting on behalf of the collective membership. 

History of Foreign Levies

In the 1980s, a number of European countries began to adopt laws imposing levies (on blank cassettes, recording equipment and later, DVDs) to provide compensation to rights holders, including “authors,” of the motion pictures and television programs.

When the studios and the member companies of the Motion Picture Association and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers initially asserted they were the sole “authors” of the films and television programs they produced and were therefore entitled to receive 100% of all foreign levies — the DGA (and WGA) waged a battle to fight for our fair share.

Foreign Levies Program Continues To Reap Benefits for MembersAfter two years, we succeeded in the fight and on June 1, 1990, entered into a Foreign Levy Agreement (“FLA”) that governed the allocation of foreign levies. The new FLA specified that a certain percentage of the “author’s share” of the foreign levies collected on films and television programs would be distributed to directors. 

As of 2022, the DGA continues to monitor the collection and distribution of foreign levies by all these societies to ensure that the payments to DGA members and non-member directors are consistent with the obligations of the societies to U.S. “authors” under the terms of the representation agreements.

How to Check if You have Foreign Levies 

The DGA collects Foreign Levies from the following 21 countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. DGA Members who have received these fees can access online their Foreign Levies earnings for the past four years, download and print detailed check reports and review their cumulative Lifetime Foreign Levies earnings by logging in on and clicking on the “FOREIGN LEVIES” link located in the members-only navigation menu at the top of the page. (Please note that this link will only appear for members who have received foreign levies earnings).

For more information, click here to visit the Foreign Levies section. If you have any further questions, please contact the Foreign Levies Department at (310) 289-5328 or email