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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 agreementsHere are some questions that are helpful to consider when reviewing your agreements to assess whether you can claim some or all of Screenrights 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.