- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Artistic Works
- Become a member
- Changing my claim
- Deadline Royalties
- Directors' rights
- Express Resolution Process
- General Copyright Information (AUS)
- Getting a Screenrights licence (AUS)
- Membership Management
- Payment and where the funds go (AUS)
- Payment of Royalties
- Royalty collection
- Screenrights and the Australian Copyright Act (AUS)
- The Screenrights Licence (NZ)
- Using television and radio (NZ)
- Using television and radio with a Screenrights licence (AUS)
- If you hold the right to copy, communicate or retransmit any or all of the copyright materials in a program you are entitled to become a member of Screenrights. Membership is free.
- You should join Screenrights if you can claim educational, government and/or retransmission royalties for any or all of the copyright materials in a program. If your program is broadcast on television in Australia or New Zealand, we recommend you become a member and register your programs.
Our members are rightsholders in film and television programs, including producers, directors, scriptwriters, artists, production companies, distributors, sales agents, commercial collection agents, broadcasters and other collecting societies.
- Your membership details and any information on royalties earned are kept in confidence. This information is only available to authorised Screenrights employees.
- However, if your project is funded by a funding body Screenrights may report royalty payments for that title to the funding body. As the funding agencies are owners of copyright in the programs, they are entitled to receive information as to the royalties collected.
- Yes. If the name of the member has been legally changed then you will need to update your member name. Simply inform Screenrights in writing of the name change and provide a copy of the Certificate of Name Change (or international equivalent).
- If your company has merged to form a new company, the new legal entity will need to become a member of Screenrights and you will need to provide a letter with instructions to transfer any registrations to the new membership.
You will only need to resign your membership if your company has been delisted. To resign your membership you will need to write a letter to the Company Secretary of Screenrights clearly stating the entity that is resigning.
If you are a Screenrights member and you no longer hold rights in any titles, or if your company has ceased trading or you wish to resign your membership for any other reason, you can do so by submitting a request to resign your membership on company letterhead to the Company Secretary, Screenrights.
- Screenrights recommends you register your program if it is broadcast on television in Australia or New Zealand. You should check your contracts to determine whether you can claim Screenrights’ royalties.
- Screenrights can also collect film royalties from around the world on your behalf. If your program has been broadcast outside of Australia and New Zealand, royalties may be collected for retransmission, private copying, other copying, public lending and public performance. You can go global with Screenrights International by selecting this option when you register.
There are a number of options available to register your programs. If you have a small number of programs to register we recommend registering via My Screenrights or completing our registration forms. If you have lots of programs, talk to Member Services about your bulk electronic registration options.
Under Australian and New Zealand law, rights are transferable. You should check your agreements to ensure that you are entitled to claim Screenrights royalties. In most cases it will be clear from your contracts if you can claim any or all of the royalties. You may wish to refer to our “Standard Contract Clauses” page, and seek independent legal advice.
You can amend your registrations via My Screenrights. Alternatively, you may request a report to update your registrations by contacting Member Services.
Screenrights recommends reviewing your registrations with the Member Services team to ensure that your programs are registered for all types of royalties that you are entitled to collect.
If you have an extensive catalogue of programs to register with Screenrights, contact the Member Services team to discuss your bulk electronic registration options.
You can view your registrations via MyScreenrights. Alternatively, you may request a report detailing your registrations by contacting Member Services.
If you no longer hold any rights in a program that you have registered with Screenrights, or if you registered the program in error, then you should withdraw your registration. You can do so via My Screenrights or by contacting our Member Services team.
If you no longer hold some rights in a program that you have registered with Screenrights, then you should withdraw those rights. You can do so via My Screenrights or by contacting our Member Services team.
Screenrights is the source society for Australian and New Zealand educational copying and communication, Australian government copying and Australian retransmission royalties.
If you choose to go global with Screenrights International, we can collect retransmission, private and educational copying, public lending and public performance film royalties on your behalf.
No, under copyright law in Australia and New Zealand it is not infringement. The Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts allow educational institutions to copy from television and radio broadcasts for educational purposes, provided they pay a licence fee. Screenrights collects the licence fees and distributes royalties to the rightsholders for the use of their programs. Educational institutions can also communicate copies made from television and radio for educational purposes.
In addition, Australian government departments are allowed to copy from television and radio broadcasts for government purposes, and the free to air networks are allowed to be retransmitted by another service, such as pay television. Screenrights also licenses the retransmission of free to air broadcasts on mobile phones and IPTV.
No. There are no royalties by virtue of the fact that a program is broadcast.
Screenrights distributes royalties for educational copying and communication, government copying, private copying, public lending, public performance and retransmission under our royalty collection services. As the royalties are paid on usage, there is no guarantee that a broadcast will result in royalties being paid.
Screenrights pays royalties directly into a nominated bank account. It is the member’s responsibility to ensure that the bank details they have provided Screenrights is current and correct.
During 2016/17 Screenrights distributed a total of $43.1 million to its members
There is no means by which to determine the amount of royalties you may receive for the use of your program. Royalties are determined by a number of factors including:
- whether the program is copied, communicated or retransmitted;
- the type of program;
- the region or territory where the program is copied, communicated or retransmitted;
- the duration of the copy, communication or retransmission;
- the audience of the communication or retransmission;
- the time of day of the retransmission;
- the type of educational institution who made the copy or communication; and
- the system used by the educational institution to record their copying and communication.
If your program accrues royalties, there is at least a 6-18 month delay before the royalties are available for distribution.
Australian and New Zealand royalties are administered on an Australian financial year basis (July to June). Records of copying, communication and retransmission during that period are collated, audited and researched prior to the commencement of distribution in December of that year.
Royalties from other territories are paid to Members upon receipt from the international collection societies. The delay between when the royalties are earned and paid is therefore dependent on the payment schedule of each international collecting society.
GST applies to Australian residents only. There is no GST on royalties because a royalty is not a good or a service. However, there is GST on Screenrights’ administration fee, which is a service. The GST is calculated as 10% of the administration fee only.
RWT is payable on payments under the Australian royalty collection services to non-residents of Australia and payments under the New Zealand royalty collection services to non-residents of New Zealand. Most countries where our members are located have double taxation agreements where RWT is 5%, 10% or 15% depending on the country. Where there is no double taxation agreement between the countries the rate of RWT is set at 30%.
As trustee of the money that it collects, Screenrights must ensure that the royalties are paid to the correct person or entity.
We seek to identify potential rightsholders in programs that have been copied, communicated and retransmitted by a variety of means, using:
- an extensive database of registered programs or programs we have paid in the past (existing warranties by Members);
- a range of external research databases;
- supplier information from the broadcaster;
- Internet research;
- industry resources; and
- industry knowledge.
To claim royalties a rightsholder must join as a member and warrant to Screenrights that they are entitled to royalties for a program. The member indemnifies Screenrights in the event that they claim royalties in error. Only then does Screenrights continue to pay future royalties to that member for titles which they do hold the rights to.
Screenrights has a policy for competing claims where more than one party makes a claim to a royalty. See More than one claim to royalties.
Yes, you can. Provided the other institution has a Screenrights licence, you can use Clickview Exchange to swap files of programs recorded under your Screenrights licence.
When you become a member of Screenrights, the name on the Membership Application must be the person or legal entity that owns or controls the rights in your programs.
No. Membership is free. If you receive an allocation of royalties, we apply an administration fee to recover our costs at the point of payment.
Film and television programs contain a number of separate copyright materials including the visual images and associated sounds, the screenplay or narration, and other material incorporated in the film such as the music, sound recordings and artistic works.
When a film or television program is copied, communicated or retransmitted under the royalty collection services, there are royalties for each of the separate copyright materials.
By indicating a claim to a copyright material, you are warranting to Screenrights that you own or control the right to claim royalties for that specific copyright material incorporated in the program.
Yes, you can, provided access is limited to students and teachers at the institution and provided you include a notice that the copy is made available under your Screenrights licence for the educational purposes of your institution only and is not to be used or copied for any other purpose.
You can include copied programs in emails to students, provided you include a notice that the copy is emailed under your Screenrights licence for the educational purposes of your institution only and is not to be used or copied for any other purpose.
Section 28 of the Copyright Act allows a teacher to show a program in a class or lecture as part of the instruction without infringing copyright, provided that:
- the instruction is not for profit and;
- the audience is limited to people taking part in the instruction or otherwise directly connected with the educational institution.
If you are unsure as to whether the use you wish to make of the program falls within this exception, you should seek legal advice.
Schools, TAFEs and universities can “communicate” copied programs to staff and students. This covers emailing copies and making them available online through an internal network, such as a blackboard or moodle system, or using a content management system such as Clickview. It also includes recording lectures in which a copy is played, where the lecture recording is then available online to students.
Screenrights educational copying service applies to copying from radio and television and the making of further copies from those original copies only. It does not apply to copying purchased or hired videos, even where the material has been broadcast. You may wish to obtain advice from the Australian Copyright Council.
This is not covered by the educational copying service and you will need to seek legal advice as to your copyright obligations. The Australian Copyright Council may be able to advise as to whether permission needs to be obtained. Screenrights may be able to assist with identifying and locating the relevant rightsholder, in which case please contact us.
Your Screenrights licence only allows you to copy material from television or radio. Copying bought or hired videos or CDs without permission from the relevant rightsholders may infringe copyright. The Australian Copyright Council may be able to advise you as to your legal obligations.
Yes you can. This includes copying onto CD, DVD, onto a PC or removable media such as a thumb drive, or onto an online repository provided access is limited to your staff and students only.
Yes. Anyone can copy on behalf of an institution covered by an agreement with Screenrights, provided the copy is made for the teaching purposes of the institution and labeled in the correct manner.
Yes. Teachers can copy at home on behalf of an educational institution covered by an agreement with Screenrights, provided the copy is made for the teaching purposes of the institution and marked in the appropriate manner.
Copies made under the service may not be sold or supplied to an educational institution for a profit.
Yes, copies may be lent to a student or member of staff.
A copy may be loaned to a student or member of staff of the institution only. Copies may not be loaned to anyone else nor to another institution, even if they have an agreement with Screenrights. Where another institution requests a copy, you may make a copy on its behalf, provided the institution has an agreement with Screenrights and provided the copy is labeled in the appropriate manner, clearly indicating the name of the institution for whom the copy was made.
The provisions allow you to copy for the educational purposes of the institution. This would include copying programs to keep in the library, or to show to students as part of a course of instruction.
Many broadcasters have their own YouTube channels and you may download broadcasts that they have uploaded to these channels. Other YouTube material is not covered by the Screenrights licence and you may wish to seek advice if you want to stream or embed this material in course notes.
The licence lets you copy broadcast material put online by a free to air broadcaster. This would allow you to download a podcast from the ABC site, for instance.
The provisions also allow you to copy from radio including from the broadcast, or from a podcast.
You can copy from both cable and satellite television, whether pay or free to air.
The rules for copying under a Screenrights licence are very simple. You can copy anything from radio or television (free to air and pay TV) and you can make as many copies as you like. You can also copy broadcast material made available online by free to air broadcasters. This includes podcasts and vodcasts of your favourite programs and simulcasts of programs. You can copy all or part of a program. You can also make up compilation tapes of material you have copied. The only requirements are that you have a Screenrights licence, that the copy is made for the educational purposes of the institution, and that it is labelled.
Showing a film (e.g. playing a video or DVD) outside your immediate family and private home is, in copyright terms, a performance in public. This requires the permission of the copyright owners. Examples of this sort of use include:
- film societies
- fundraising film nights
- on bus or coaches
- entertaining the kids at school or in a library on a rainy day.
In industry terms this is called a “non-theatrical exhibition”, and there are two companies from which can rent you a copy of a film, which includes a copyright clearance to perform it in public: Roadshow Film Distributors, Tel 02 9552 8600; and Amalgamated Movies, Tel 07 4787 1086 (Eastern states) or 08 9727 1950 (SA, WA, NT). The two companies have different catalogues of films, so if one company doesn’t have the movie you want, then the other may.
The Australian Copyright Council publishes a very useful guide to copyright for teachers that explains what you can and can’t do under Australia’s Copyright laws. Simply contact the Australian Copyright Council.
Schools, universities and TAFE institutes, along with training organisations, are “educational institutions” for the purposes of the Copyright Act. This does not include public libraries.
Screenrights is a non-profit organisation appointed by the Australian Government to administer provisions in the Australian Copyright Act allowing educational institutions to copy from radio and television and to communicate those copies, provided they pay a fee.
Screenrights’ role is to enter into agreements with participating institutions, monitor their use of material and collect and distribute fees to the rightsholders in the programs that are identified as having been copied or communicated. This is done on a non-profit basis, with Screenrights deducting only its administrative overheads from the money it collects.
Because this appointment has been made by the Government, Screenrights must put its annual accounts before each House of Parliament and comply with other guidelines issued by the Attorney-General’s Department. Screenrights also subscribes to a voluntary Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies and its performance in relation to the Code is assessed on an annual basis by the Code Reviewer.
Screenrights also provides other services to rightsholders in film and television and to the people who want to use their work. We have established a similar educational copying service in New Zealand and a service for rightsholders wanting to collect overseas royalties. We have also established a copying service for Australian government departments similar to the educational copying service, and we administer provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that ensure rightsholders are paid when free to air broadcasts of their work are retransmitted by services such as pay television.
Educational institutions that do not have a Screenrights licence and copy from television or radio may infringe copyright, unless they obtain prior permission from all the relevant rightsholders in the program. The difficulty of doing this led to the educational copying provisions being established in the first place.
This depends on how your copying and communication practices are monitored. Institutions that choose not to keep records of everything they copy, but elect to participate in a survey, pay an annual fee per student. As the administrative burden of sampling is considerably less than full record keeping, almost all institutions choose this option.
Institutions that keep records of every copy they make, pay a fee for each minute copied. This per minute fee will vary according to the type of program that is copied (programs that are likely to be kept as an ongoing resource cost more per minute than those that are more ephemeral in nature).
For further information about the cost of obtaining a Screenrights licence, please contact us.
All universities and government and Catholic schools, as well as many independent schools, have a Screenrights licence. Some TAFEs are also licensed by Screenrights. RTOs, ELICOS Colleges and other training institutions can also get a licence from Screenrights and make the most of television as a teaching resource. If you are not sure whether your institution has a Screenrights licence, please contact us.
Screenrights also licenses educational institutions to communicate copies they make (for example, by making copies available to students online).
Screenrights determines the total amount collected in a financial year and then deducts its operating expenses for that year from this amount. Once these expenses have been deducted, an allocation of 0.25% of the total distributable amount is made to a fund known as the IBNR Fund. This fund is used to meet “claims Incurred But Not Reported”. A further deduction is then made to an Artistic Works fund (1.9% for Australian educational royalties) to pay rightsholders in artistic works.
After these deductions have been made, all copied programs are categorised as either ephemeral in nature (that is, programs that are not likely to be kept as an ongoing resource, such as news and magazine style current affairs programs) or as “other”. This category affects the dollar value allocated to each minute copied, with ephemeral programs receiving less than other programs. Screenrights can then determine the total amount that should be allocated to each title identified as having been copied.
The next task is to determine how much should be allocated to each copyright in a copied title. Because each film and television program contains a number of copyrights, the total amount allocated to a title must be divided among the copyright owners. This is done according to a scheme of allocation determined by the Screenrights Board. For Australian educational copying royalties, the allocation is as follows:
- to the copyright in the film: 68.5%
- to the copyright in the literary and dramatic work: 22.1%
- to the copyright in the sound recordings of musical works: 2.0%
- to the copyright in the musical works: 7.4%
The Australian educational service also allows for the communication of copied titles, provided an additional fee is paid. Programs that are identified as having been communicated are also allocated royalties. The allocation is split between each of the copyright owners in the program in the same manner as copying royalties.
Screenrights must identify the people who own or control each of these relevant copyrights from its extensive database and from various other sources, allowing it to distribute the royalties it has collected to these rightsholders.
- Copyright law ensures that the people who create certain material (such as films, books, music and artwork) are paid for the use of their work. The value in a creative work is usually not in the actual product (such as the film) but in all the uses that can be made of this product. When a film is sold to television, rightsholders are paid for the television broadcast only. Further uses of the program such as making copies to keep in a library of resources or to show to students, are not built into this original fee.
- In recognition of the fact that it was important to allow for educational use of television and radio while still ensuring that rightsholders are paid, the educational copying provisions were inserted into the Copyright Act in 1990 and Screenrights was established. The money paid for copying acts as an important incentive for people to continue making programs of value to the educational market.
The money that Screenrights collects from educational institutions is paid out to the rightsholders in the programs that are identified as having been copied, after the deduction of Screenrights’ administrative overheads only.
The licence lets you copy radio, television and cable programs, and make further copies of these original copies. Entire programs or excerpts may be copied. You can also copy audiovisual material legally available online — such as podcasts, vodcasts and programs from the internet (if you are at a university, there is a limit to the type of radio material that can be copied from the internet. Please seek advice from your copyright officer). The licence does not apply to the copying of pre-recorded material, such as bought or hired videos. Copying this material without permission from the copyright owner may infringe copyright.
The Screenrights licence is versatile and flexible. You can copy:
- Any program — movies, documentaries, Maori language programs, news and current affairs
- Anywhere — make copies at home or in your library
- From any channel — pay or free to air
- Audiovisual material legally available online — download podcasts, vodcasts or programs from the internet (if you are at a university, please note that you may need to seek further advice about this)
- In any format — copy onto VHS, DVD, a hard drive or a content management system
- From old copies — update your old copies into digital format to use in teaching or keep in the library as a resource.
You can also use a content management system, such as eTV and Clickview, to store and play copies.
Showing a film as part of teaching does not require permission from the copyright owner, but other screenings outside your immediate family and private home is, in copyright terms, a performance in public. This requires the permission of the copyright owners. Examples of this sort of use include:
- film societies
- fundraising film nights
- on buses or coaches
- entertaining the kids at school or in a library on a rainy day.
In industry terms this is called a “non-theatrical exhibition”, and there are two companies which can rent you a copy of a film, which includes a copyright clearance to perform it in public. They are: Roadshow Film Distributors, Tel, +61 2 9552 8600 and Amalgamated Movies Tel, +61 2 07 4787 1086. These companies distribute to Australia and New Zealand. Please call them on the Australian telephone numbers above. The two companies have different catalogues of films, so if one company doesn’t have the movie you want, then the other may.
Screenrights recommends institutions label copies to indicate that they have been made for the educational purposes of your institution under a Screenrights licence. Copies that are available online should have a similar notice.
You can keep copies in the library, either as DVDs or VHS tapes, or stored on an intranet or content management system. Copies can also be embedded in online course notes, played to students in a class or lecture, or delivered to students online, both at home or in the institution.
Under the Screenrights licence and the Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts, copying must only be for the educational purposes of the institution making the copy. This includes, for example, making the copy in connection with a course or class, or for inclusion in the library.
Screenrights distributes all the money it collects from your copying, communicating or retransmitting of a program to the relevant rightsholders after the deduction of our administrative overheads only.
Under the New Zealand Copyright Act, educational institutions that don’t have a Screenrights licence may infringe copyright if they copy any programs covered by the agreement. Failure to get a Screenrights licence therefore means that you will miss out on a comprehensive right to copy from radio and television and to download audiovisual material online. If you do not have a Screenrights licence, you also cannot make full use of digital content management systems such as eTV and Clickview.
The Copyright Act allows you to “communicate” the copies you make to staff and students for educational purposes. “Communicate” is defined under both the Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts and covers such uses as communicating a copied program with a video reticulation system, emailing a copy, putting a copy on a computer network such as an intranet, or a digital content management system (CMS) or streaming a copy from an online resource centre like EnhanceTV or Clickview. In all cases, you must ensure that the communication is for your educational purposes only and that only your staff and students can access the copy.
No. You may have produced or worked on new programs for broadcast but this doesn’t necessarily mean they will generate Screenrights royalties. Not all programs that are broadcast have necessarily been copied, communicated or retransmitted, to generate Screenrights royalties. It is therefore not advisable to budget for potential royalties, even if you are convinced that your program will have great appeal to educators.
Screenrights can make an ‘ad hoc’ royalty payment if a rightsholder has evidence that his or her program was copied or communicated and not picked up in the sample. The rightsholder needs to supply information about the program and its use in a statutory declaration, as well as evidence of the copying or communication. Screenrights investigates the claim and can make an ‘ad hoc’ royalty payment, if it is satisfied the copying or communication occurred. If you would like to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org
In deciding whether a work is an artistic work, Screenrights follows the definitions in the Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts.
These definitions include:
and other works of ‘artistic craftsmanship’.
No. You will only be paid money if the program incorporating your work is copied, communicated or retransmitted. By registering where your artistic work has been used in a program you can help Screenrights to identify royalties owing to you now and in the future.
Screenrights can only pay royalties to the person or entity that owns or controls the relevant copyright in the artistic work. In most cases, the first owner of copyright in an artistic work is the artist. However, it may be necessary to examine any contracts dealing with the work to determine whether you own or control the rights to copy, communicate or retransmit the work.
The original owner of copyright in a musical work is usually the composer.
However, in practice, most composers transfer their rights in musical works to music copyright collecting societies who administer them on their behalf.
Screenrights’ royalties for music in copied or communicated programs are usually claimed by a music collecting society.
The sound recording of a musical work is a separate copyright component to the musical work itself. This means that the rights in the sound recording are not automatically controlled by a music collecting society just because the music is. In fact this is usually not the case.
Screenrights has identified three main types of music used in film and television. This may help you ascertain whether you have a claim to royalties for sound recordings of music in film and television.
The three types are:
- Commercial music (such as pop songs)
Copyright in the sound recordings of these works tend to be owned by record companies.
- Library music (also known as stock or production music)
Copyright in the sound recordings of these works tend to be owned by publishers.
- Commissioned music (or music specially commissioned by the producer for use in programs)
Copyright in sound recordings of commissioned music are owned by the producer who commissioned the music and paid for it to be recorded, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
This means a producer (or the rightsholder in the film) will usually only be able to claim sound recording royalties if the film contains commissioned music. You will, however, need to check that you have not transferred the right to copy, communicate or retransmit the sound recording to another party in any agreements concerning the use of the film and the sound recordings of the commissioned music.
You will need to complete a warranty stating that you own or control the relevant rights in the sound recording or music. Screenrights is happy to assist you with this.
To ensure that your royalties are distributed as efficiently as possible, you may wish to register your claims in a title, listing each copyright that you own or control, at the time when the title goes into production.
Again, Screenrights is happy to assist you with this. We will then contact you if the title is identified as having been copied, communicated or retransmitted.
The Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts allow educational institutions to copy programs from television or radio, provided the institution has agreed to pay a fee for this use. Many institutions use resource centres to access Screenrights copies. Resource centres have been set up with the sole function of copying for educators at licensed institutions who request a particular program. Copies are provided at cost only and the resource centre must also have a Screenrights licence. There are several resource centres in Australia, including one operated by Screenrights through EnhanceTV. Resource centres have been running since 1990.
Screenrights pays royalties to the person or entity that owns or holds the relevant copyright in your artistic work, specifically the right to copy, communicate and retransmit your artistic work from a television broadcast.
Generally, the creator of an artistic work owns the relevant copyright in the work. However, under Australian and New Zealand law, rights are transferable. The original artist can enter into a contract under which copyright is transferred to another party. You should check your contracts in relation to your artistic works. In most cases it will be clear from the contracts if you can claim any or all of the royalties – if not, we recommend that you seek legal advice.
If you sell the artistic work you have created, you will still own copyright in relation to the work unless your contracts state otherwise.
When artistic works royalties are payable for a program, Screenrights endeavours to identify which artists may be entitled to claim the artistic works royalties for the program. We do this using television program guides and internet research. However, we are unable to say whether your work did in fact appear in the program as we do not have access to the actual program. We rely on your completion of an ‘artistic works registration’ form to confirm that your artwork did in fact appear in the program. By completing this form, you are warranting that your artistic works appeared in the program.
Your artwork has to appear in the program, either featured or unfeatured. There is no time duration requirement nor is there a requirement for the entire artwork to appear on screen.
It depends, but an approximate minimum per artist is $125.
Screenrights collects records of copying, communication and retransmission throughout the Australian nancial year (1 July – 30 June). We call this period a distribution year. The royalty payment amount depends on how much money there is to distribute, the programs
that were copied, communicated and retransmitted, and how many artworks were identified in those programs.
In some years the royalty payments have been close to the minimum and in other years the royalty payments have been
in excess of the approximate minimum. There is no way of knowing how much the payment will be until late June of the distribution year.
It’s possible that your artwork appeared in a program even though you may have not given permission. In some cases this is allowed under copyright law.
In Australia, the Copyright Act gives copyright owners the exclusive right to deal with their copyright material in certain ways. Generally, copyright is infringed when someone uses all, or a substantial part, of copyright material in a way that is exclusively reserved to the copyright owner, without the copyright owner’s permission.
However, there are exceptions and defences to copyright infringement, such as the fair dealing exception where copyright material can be used for the purpose of criticism or review, without the copyright owner’s permission.
If there are royalties available for your artwork in a program then, regardless of whether you gave permission for your artwork to appear in that program, you may be entitled to claim the royalties.
If your artistic work is used in a program broadcast on Australian or New Zealand television, you can register it with Screenrights. Contact Screenrights Visual Arts Coordinator for a registration form or download it from www.screenrights.org. We ask for information about the program, and if known, information about the broadcasts of the program as well. You are not able to register artworks if they are yet to appear in a program.
Alternatively, if you are a member of Viscopy you may also wish to check whether they have registered your work on your behalf. (www.viscopy.net.au).
Retransmission royalties are generated when free to air television or radio broadcasts are retransmitted across a different network such as pay television. This is because provisions in the Australian Copyright Act allow broadcasts of copyright material to be retransmitted in Australia provided the retransmitter pays a royalty to the relevant rightsholders.
Screenrights has been appointed by the Australian Government to administer these provisions, with royalties payable to rightsholders in programs that are retransmitted from 4 March 2001.
The Copyright Amendment (Film Directors’ Rights) Act granted directors a share of film retransmission royalties for films produced after 19 December 2005. However, the Act does not specify what the director’s share of the retransmission royalties is. The rights of a director to a film are limited to a right to receive a share of the retransmission royalties to be collected by Screenrights, unless otherwise expressed in the contract.
The directors’ rights provision applies only to films made after 19 December 2005. The Australian Copyright Act protects both films made by Australian citizens and residents, and foreign films where the maker is a citizen or resident of a country which is a party to an international copyright treaty. In practice most countries are now members of the Berne Convention, the UCC Convention or the WTO, and therefore most foreign films will be protected under Australian copyright law.
Foreign directors will therefore be entitled to claim the directors’ copyright in the same way that Australian directors may assert their claim.
The Copyright Amendment (Film Directors Rights) Act 2005 amended the Copyright Act to grant directors a share of film retransmission royalties for films produced after 19 December 2005. However, the Act does not specify what the director’s share of the retransmission royalties is; it is for the parties to the agreement to specify the proportion in which the director and producer share the retransmission royalties.
There are a number of limitations on the application of the provisions:
- For films produced prior to 19 December 2005, there is no statutory entitlement of directors to a share of these royalties. As such, the 2005 amendments have no effect
- The amendments apply only to films that are not commissioned films. Copyright in a film made under a commission continues to be held by the commissioning party subject to any agreement to the contrary. Under the Copyright Act a film is “commissioned” if it is made in pursuance of an agreement for payment of valuable consideration to the maker of the film
- Directors who are employees generally will not hold rights – the director’s right will be held by the employer unless there is a contractual agreement to the contrary
In Australia and New Zealand, film and television development and production funding bodies are generally national or regional. It’s usually worth signing up to their email lists to keep in the loop about deadlines and opportunities.
Screen Australia: www.screenaustralia.gov.au
Create NSW: www.create.nsw.gov.au
Film Victoria: www.film.vic.gov.au
Screen QLD: screenqueensland.com.au
South Australian Film Corporation: www.safilm.com.au
Screen Tasmania: www.screen.tas.gov.au
Screen Territory: screenterritory.nt.gov.au
Screen Canberra: www.screencanberra.com.au
New Zealand Film Commission: www.nzfilm.co.nz
NZ On Air: www.nzonair.govt.nz
Te Māngai Pāho: www.tmp.govt.nz
Creative NZ: www.creativenz.govt.nz