Australian Educational Royalties

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from Australian educational institutions are paid out as royalties.


In Australia, educational institutions can copy any program from a television or radio broadcast, and communicate that copy, provided that the institution has a Screenrights licence. The films, TV shows, documentaries and other screen projects that are copied by educators are used in the classroom for educational purposes. This secondary use is enabled under the Australian Copyright Act.

The licences fees paid by educational institutions become educational royalties.

Screenrights collects information about the programs that are copied and communicated for educational purposes and allocates the educational royalties to those programs.

Copying royalties

Educational copying royalties are triggered when a copy is made of a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project from a broadcast. This copy could be made on physical media (such as a DVD) or on digital media (such as a hard drive in a content management system). Educational royalties are also triggered when a new copy is made of a previous copy of a broadcast.

Educators can also copy films, TV shows, documentaries and other screen projects from the internet as long as they have been broadcast and sourced from the broadcaster’s website or other legally available online video channels.

Communication royalties

Educational communication royalties are triggered when a copy of a broadcast is communicated. The most common means of communicating a program within educational institutions is by making the program available for viewing on an intranet.

Performance in the classroom

There are no secondary royalties for the playing or performance of a copy of a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project in the classroom.

Streaming screen content in the classroom

There are no secondary royalties for streaming a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project in the classroom. As a licensed educational institution is not making a copy of the program or communicating a copy of the program, streaming activities do not fall under the Screenrights licence and therefore no royalty is triggered.

Collections to Expenses Ratio

All the money we collect is distributed to members after the deduction of administrative overheads only. The administration fee is referred to in percentage terms and is called the collections to expenses ratio. The overall collections to expenses ratio is detailed in our Annual Reports and is set out below:


Rightsholders should note that if they appoint an agent to collect Screenrights royalties on their behalf, the agent may also charge an administrative or agent’s fee on top of Screenrights’ costs.

Distribution Period

Screenrights’ Constitution has always allowed for a 4-year distribution period, with an additional two years where the Board determines it necessary. In practical terms Screenrights had taken six years to distribute royalties. In 2020 Screenrights moved back to having four years to distribute royalties. For members this meant that royalties from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 distribution years expired in June 2020.

Data for Royalty Distribution

Screenrights collects information about the programs that are copied and communicated by educational institutions for educational purposes and allocates royalties to those programs.

Most educational institutions get copies of programs from Resource Centres. Resource Centres are similar to libraries, and they are licenced by Screenrights to make copies on behalf of educational institutions. Resource Centres report information about the programs that are copied and communicated to Screenrights, and we pay royalties to the rightsholders in those programs based off these records.

Educators currently have access to the following Resource Centres in Australia: Clickview; TV4Education; InfoRMIT; and Screenrights’ own service, EnhanceTV.

For more information about what educators can do under their Screenrights licence, see

Screenrights collects data in relation to the use of programs across the Australian financial year, 1 July to 30 June, with royalty payments commencing the following December. This means that it can take between 6 – 18 months before rightsholders may receive a royalty payment for the use of their programs. For example, if a program was broadcast and copied in July, the royalty payment would be made in December the following year.

Royalty Valuation

There are three factors that influence how the value of a program that has been copied or communicated by an educational institution is quantified. These are:
  • The type of educational institution – a copy made by a university is worth more than a copy made by a primary school. Educational institutions pay an amount per student, and as there are more students at a university campus than a primary school, the university copy has a greater value.
  • The duration of the copy – a 60 minute program will receive more than a 30 minute program.
  • The category of the  program – there are currently two categories of programs: ephemeral and non-ephemeral. Ephemeral programs are programs of a shorter “shelf life” such as news and current affairs, and as such receive a smaller weighting and a smaller allocation of royalties. Non-ephemeral programs such as documentaries and feature films receive a higher weighting and therefore a greater allocation of royalties.


Screenrights allocates royalties to different copyright materials that make a program, including film, script, and sound recordings. In Screenrights’ Distribution Policy we refer to this as the Scheme of Allocation.

The current allocation for the Australian Educational Service is:

Cinematograph Film (‘Film’)68.50%
Literary & Dramatic Work (‘Script’)22.10%
Commissioned Sound Recordings0.67%
Musical Works7.40%
Library Sound Recordings0.21%
Commercial Sound Recordings1.11%


Once you have reviewed your agreements and established that you hold the relevant rights ( you can claim Screenrights royalties by becoming a member and registering your entitlements to collect royalties for films, documentaries and TV shows on MyScreenrights. When you are registering a program, you are warranting to Screenrights that you are entitled to claim the royalties you have specified in your registration. 

We recommend registering your claims as soon as practicable after the film, TV show, documentary or other screen project has been released, or after you have received an assignment of rights or have been appointed to collect on another party’s behalf.


More detail on how royalties are calculated can be found in our Distribution Policy.

Contact Us


Suite 3, 185 Gloucester St, The Rocks NSW 2000


Phone: +61 2 8038 1300

New Zealand

NZ Freephone: 0800 44 2348


Screenrights acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.