Your Rights

InternationalDomesticAudiovisual CampaignDefend Your RightsResources

International

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:

  • Private copying (a levy collected for every blank video cassette tape / DVD sold);
  • Rental and public lending;
  • Simultaneous retransmission by cable or pay TV of primary broadcasts;
  • Communication to the public by means of technical equipment;
  • Pay-per-view, video on demand;
  • Communication in public places of radio and television programs;
  • Projection in cinemas and similar establishments;
  • Sale for private use; and/or
  • Use for educational purposes.

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.

Domestic

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.

Defend Your Rights

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.

Audiovisual Campaign

ASDACS is part of The Audiovisual Campaign for fair remuneration worldwide for directors. This is being spearheaded by Writers and Directors’ Worldwide. In the Australian context, this can be summarized as: 

The Problem

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. 

Key Issues:

  1. Parity
    • Australia is well behind the rest of the world in recognition of directors’ rights. 
    • Currently, directors in 37 international territories including most of Europe, South America and Hong Kong receive ongoing economic returns for the films they make.
    • Directors benefit from strong union negotiated agreements with residuals.
    • Other key creators in Australia including producers, script writers and musicians have an entitlement to ongoing returns; directors do not Australian directors get royalty payments collected overseas, and need to reciprocate.
  1. Remuneration
    • Half of all members of the ADG make less than $25,000 a year despite most having worked in the industry for more than 10 years.
    • At a time when funding for the Arts has been slashed, directors urgently need secure ongoing income streams through royalty payments.
    • Many Australian directors are forced to work overseas with the flow on impact of less productions, less mentoring and less jobs in Australia – all necessary for a fully functioning creative ecosystem in film and television.
  1. Landscape
    • The work of directors is the foundation of Australia’s screen industry which contributed $5.8 billion in GDP, supported 46,600 full time jobs and contributed almost $2 billion in tax revenues in 2012-2013.
    • The accelerating pace of digital distribution and production has disrupted traditional business models which no longer provide fair ongoing returns for directors.

The solution

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.

What can members do?

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.

Resources

Copyright Organisations

ACC

Australian Copyright Council

Arts Law

The Arts Law Centre of Australia

WIPO

World Intellectual Property Organisation

Collecting Societies - Australia

APRA / AMCOS

Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd / Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners' Society Ltd

AWGACS

Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society Ltd

CAL

Copyright Agency Ltd

PPCA

Phonographic Performance Company of Australia

Screenrights