Writers join as members of Screenrights to claim and receive royalty payments, and can also access additional services.
There are no Screenrights royalties payable to writers just because they wrote a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project.
Did that grab your attention? We hope so.
In the same way, there are no Screenrights royalties payable to producers or production companies just because they make a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project.
Screenrights royalty payments are made to rightsholders. Whether you are a rightsholder or not will depend on Australian copyright law and your contracts. You may be entitled to claim some Screenrights royalties, but not others. You may be able to claim all Screenrights royalties for all your films, TV shows, documentaries and other screen projects that you have written, or none at all. 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 you need to own or control to be entitled to receive them.
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.
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 that may deal with Screenrights royalties include:
Agency appointment agreement
Registering your claims
Once you’ve determined that you are a rightsholder and can claim Screenrights royalties, you need to tell us about it. You can do this by submitting registrations on MyScreenrights for the films, TV shows, documentaries or other screen projects in which you own or control the right(s) to collect Screenrights royalties. You can also choose to register via your appointed agent, if you have one.
Learn more about registering for royalties here.
Registering directly or appointing an agent
As a writer, you can join as a member and receive royalty payments directly from Screenrights. You can also choose to appoint an agent to claim and receive royalty payments on your behalf. The choice is yours.
When you appoint an agent you will still need to provide the agent with information about the films, TV shows, documentaries and other screen projects in which you own or control the right to collect Screenrights royalties.
Typically, an agent will charge a fee or commission for the services they provide. Often this is charged as a percentage of the royalties the agent collects on your behalf. Appointing an agent is a commercial decision and agreement terms vary – so always do your homework and seek legal advice if you need to.
The Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS) offers a service to writers to collect Screenrights royalties on their behalf, as well as a range of other complementary services for writers. Other agents may offer similar services to writers.
Royalties from around the world
For writers wishing to claim royalties from outside of Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS) is the collecting society for Australian and New Zealand writers. AWGACS has agreements in place that enable them to collect from similar organisations that operate in other countries around the world.
A writer may therefore choose to receive Screenrights royalty payments for Australian and New Zealand directly from Screenrights and other international royalties from AWGACS, or alternatively, to receive all royalties from AWGACS. Check the applicable fees with AWGACS.
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.