The majority of royalties we pay to members comes from our international collecting partners; due to the legal entitlements that all our directors share with the directors who live in these countries.
Directors have primary copyright in 37 countries around the world and it is standard practice in many of these territories for director’s to retain secondary rights and receive income due for the secondary use of their work. These rights include:
In many of these countries, it is not possible for directors to renounce their rights, so it remains part of your ongoing income, regardless of any domestic contractual assignments you have made.
In Australia, The Copyright Act was amended in 2005 and for the first time, directors were recognised as a copyright owner for the sole purpose of sharing in the revenue which is generated when something which has been broadcast on free-to-air television is retransmitted on another network, such as pay-TV (retransmission rights). Exceptions include employees and commissioned films.
On 28 August 2020, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission granted ASDACS authorisation to make membership conditional upon directors assigning retransmission rights to it for a period of 5 years (effective 19 Sept 2020). The relevant changes were passed at an ASDACS Extraordinary General Meeting on 29 October 2020.
On signing up to the new membership terms, we now require that you retain your share of Australian retransmission rights utilising this clause in your future directors contracts and register the work with ASDACS. We will then register your work for retransmission royalties with Screenrights (the mandated collection society for all screen royalties in Australia and New Zealand) on your behalf and include any income collected along with your international royalties in our next distribution.
Currently, directors in New Zealand do not hold any rights, however the DEGNZ are working to change this.
ASDACS supports and works with both the guild in Australia (ADG) and New Zealand guild (DEGNZ) in campaigns to extend the recognition of directors’ rights.
ASDACS membership is free to current full members of both the ADG and DEGNZ. For non-Guild members, an ASDACS membership fee will be deducted from the money we have collected for you. This fee is an across-the-board 10% of any income due to you.
Australian screen directors are denied any ongoing return in the films and TV they make because of an outdated and unfair interpretation of Australia’s copyright law.
Despite past victories which have returned a small stream of retransmission royalty payments, Australian directors continue to face strong opposition for fair pay for their creative work. They often receive no benefit from the growing digital market and have no body of work to derive future incomes from in contrast to directors from other parts of the world including the United Kingdom.
A simple amendment to Australia’s Copyright Act so the definition of “maker” of a film specifically refers to directors. As a result, directors will share copyright in films and TV productions with producers.
This change will ensure a sustainable future for directors with improved recognition of their creative contribution in film and television in line with producers, screen writers and composers. This campaign is supported worldwide through the international authors’ body, Writers and Directors Worldwide.
Spread the word and use every opportunity to remind people of the importance of directors in Australia and their right to fair, ongoing streams of remuneration. Like other creatives in the film and television industry, directors have a legitimate entitlement to ongoing returns from the fruits of their labour.