Royalty Payments

As a collecting society, Screenrights collects and pays secondary royalties from Australia and New Zealand. We can collect from around the world too – see our international service. You need to be a member to receive royalty payments. We have many different types of members, and membership is free.

The Royalties We Pay

Screenrights royalties are often referred to as secondary royalties because they relate to a ‘secondary use’ that flows on from the primary use – being, for example, the broadcast itself. Typically, when a film, documentary or TV show is licensed for broadcast the broadcaster pays a licence for the right to transmit the program. When educators, government departments and subscription TV providers perform the secondary use (making a copy, communicating that copy, or retransmitting the program) they also need a licence, but it is practically impossible for a transactional licence to be negotiated efficiently with the rightsholders in the program at the time.

This inability to effectively transact in realtime is an example of market failure. That’s where Screenrights comes in. Screenrights offers collective licences as a cost-effective way to counter market failure and facilitate transactions between audiences of and rightsholders in screen content. These collective licensing enable a secondary use and the royalties that are earned under the licence are known as secondary royalties.

Specifically, Screenrights administer sections of the Australian Copyright Act that allows educators, government departments and subscription TV providers to perform the secondary uses in exchange for paying “equitable remuneration” to Screenrights. We agree the fees, monitor what they copy, communicate and retransmit, calculate the royalty payments, and distribute the collections to the relevant rightsholders in the programs.

Here’s a quick summary of the royalties we pay:
  • Australian educational copying royalties
  • Australian educational communication royalties
  • Australian retransmission royalties
  • Australian government copying royalties
  • New Zealand educational copying royalties
  • New Zealand educational communication royalties.
  • we also collect secondary royalties from around the world on behalf of more than 2000 members — see Worldwide Royalty Collection for more information.

Considering whether you can claim royalties

In order to be entitled to claim Screenrights royalties you need to own or control the right to receive royalties for the use of the copyright material in the territory. Your rights period needs to cover the date of the copyright use. You may also need to consider whether you are still entitled to collect royalties now for a past rights period (this is known as your collection period).


Use is how the copyright has been exercised. The types of use that relate to Screenrights’ royalties are copying, communication and retransmission.

Date of copyright use

This is the date that copyright has been exercised and the royalty triggered. For instance, in the case of educational copying royalties this is the date that an educational institution made a copy of a film, TV show, documentary or other program.

Copyright material

Copyright material refers to the copyright components in a film, TV show, documentary or other screen project for which Screenrights pays royalties.


The territory is the country in which the exercise of copyright took place, which is either Australia or New Zealand for Screenrights’ royalties.

Rights period

The rights period is the length of time that rights are held. Often the rights period is for the duration of the relevant copyright or in perpetuity, but can also be for a limited, specified period of time.

Collection period

The collection period is the period of time in which you can receive royalty payments. Most commonly, where the rights period is for the duration of copyright the collection period is also for the duration of copyright. The collection period typically only becomes a consideration in circumstances where the rights period is limited. Can you continue to collect royalties that were earned during your rights period after the rights period has ended? If so, for how long?

Reviewing your agreements

Here are some questions that are helpful to consider when reviewing your agreements to assess whether you can claim some or all of Screenrights royalties.
  • Do I own or control one or more of the rights to the copyright materials in the film, TV show, documentary or other screen project?
  • Can I claim the royalties generated from the copying, communication or retransmission of the program?
  • Have I retained the right to collect secondary royalties?
  • Have I assigned my rights in part or in whole?
  • Have I appointed an agent to collect these royalties on my behalf?
  • What is my rights period? Is it for the entire duration of copyright? Or for a limited period?

Claiming Royalties

You can claim Screenrights royalties by becoming a member (see Membership) and registering your entitlements to collect royalties for film, documentary and TV shows on MyScreenrights. Each time you register a claim you warrant to Screenrights that you are entitled to claim the royalties you have specified in your registration.

Register Your Claim

Review Your Registered Titles

Screenrights continually collects secondary royalties from Australia and New Zealand. To ensure you receive the royalties that you are entitled to collect, it’s a good idea to regularly review your registrations to make sure they are up to date. You can either do this via MyScreenrights or by contacting Member Services.

Need a refresher workshop for your organisation about secondary royalties and Screenrights’ services?

Frequently Asked Questions

Screenrights negotiates licence fees, collects the money, identifies the programs that are copied, communicated and retransmitted, and pays royalties to the rightsholders.

The amount of royalties depends on the duration of the program, the program type, whether the program was copied or communicated, and the type of educational institution that used the program.

A television program contains a number of copyright components protected by the Australian Copyright Act and New Zealand Copyright Act. Read more in Types of Royalties

Screenrights is a non-profit organisation so we deduct a fee from the money collected to cover administrative overheads. All money we collect is distributed to members after the deduction of administrative overheads only.

The overheads vary between royalty types and from year to year. As a rough guide, for 2013/14 our overall total expenditure amounted to 14.91% of total collections. More information on administration fees and expenses to collections ratios for each service can be found in our Annual Reports.

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.

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.