Agents and collecting societies join as members of Screenrights to claim and receive royalty payments on behalf of people and companies that have appointed them as agent to collect Screenrights royalties on their behalf.
There are no Screenrights royalties payable to agents on behalf of the people and companies they represent just because the agent represents people or companies that were involved in the making or selling of a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project.
Did that grab your attention? We hope so.
Screenrights royalty payments are made to rightsholders. Whether an agent is or is acting on behalf of a rightsholder or not will depend on Australian copyright law, the agency agreement and the title covered, and any preceding contracts in the chain of title. Keep reading to learn more.
Screenrights collects and pays secondary royalties from Australia and New Zealand. These royalties can range in value from a few cents to thousands of dollars.
See Royalty Payments to find out more about Screenrights royalties and the rights the agent needs to own or control to be entitled to receive them on behalf of its clients.
Getting it right from the start
The rights associated with collecting Screenrights royalties are transferable. Whether or not you own or control the right to receive Screenrights royalties today depends on the specific terms of the contracts entered into when the film, TV show, documentary or other screen project is made and the specific terms of any subsequent contracts such as distribution agreements.
Screenrights publishes sample contract clauses which highlights relevant legal issues to consider in order to get it right from the start. Of course, you should always seek advice from a qualified legal practitioner before signing any contract.
Some of the agreements directly relevant to an agent or collecting society acting as an agent that may deal with Screenrights royalties include:
Collecting society membership agreement
Agency appointment agreement
In addition to the appointment of agency, various other agreements that may have dealt with Screenrights royalties on a title-by-title basis include:
Production and investment agreement
Broadcast licence agreement
Distribution and/or sales agency agreement
Agency appointment agreement
Registering your claims
Once an agent has determined that it is entitled to claim Screenrights royalties on a title-by-title basis, the agent needs to tell us about it by submitting registrations on MyScreenrights for the films, TV shows, documentaries or other screen projects on behalf of its clients.
Learn more about registering for royalties here.
Provision of client lists
Agents are required to provide an up-to-date list of the clients they represent on an annual basis, and on request from Screenrights at any time. Screenrights can also request that an agent verify its agency at any time by providing documents to support their appointment broadly or in relation to specific titles, and can remove an agent’s registrations on behalf of any client where the agency appointment is not verified within a reasonable timeframe.
New clients and departing clients
When an agent advises that it has commenced representing a new client, the agent must support this notice by providing a copy of the agency appointment agreement (or other similar relevant documentation) signed by the client they now represent.
When an agent ceases to represent a client, the agent must notify Screenrights immediately in writing.
Confirmation by principal
Where information comes to light that suggests that:
- an agent does not represent a particular client; or
- the client represented by the agent does not own or control the rights to receive Screenrights royalties,
Screenrights can request that the agent’s client (known as the ‘principal’) confirm both the agency appointment and the validity of the claims made on their behalf to Screenrights royalties, on a title-by-title basis.
Visit the Help Centre to learn more about the royalties we pay, registering your claims and timing of payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.