This video (cut and paste link below) gets to the heart of the matter. It is a debate that took place recently at a summit on copyright in Europe. Europe relies heavily on a taxation system that imposes charges on all levels and forms of the distribution of entertainment. Those taxes are then collected by private “Collective Rights Organizations” on behalf of writers, actors, directors, and producers. More than a billion dollars a year in collected in the EU this way. Some of it flows back to the US through the entertainment guilds to American performers.
Of course, in the US most entertainment is work for hire and so performers rely on collective bargaining via unions and guilds. But that has a significant disadvantage because the revenues generated by the distribution side of the EMI sector are largely left off the table in contract negotiations. In the world of New Media and digitalization that creates a huge opportunity for the employers to make billions for their investors, leaving performers in the cold. Perhaps the EU model is worthy of consideration.