Screenrights royalties are often referred to as secondary royalties because they relate to a ‘secondary use’ that flows on from the primary use – being the broadcast itself. Typically, when a film, documentary or TV show is licensed for broadcast the broadcaster pays a licence for the right to screen 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 licenses 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, we administer sections of the Australian and New Zealand Copyright Acts that allow educators, government departments and subscription TV providers to perform the secondary uses in exchange for paying licence fees to Screenrights. We monitor what they copy, communicate and retransmit, calculate the royalty payments, and pay the relevant rightsholders in the programs.
Here’s a quick summary of the royalties we pay: