ADG's protest against Screenrights’ policy to undermine directors’ royalty payments

ADG's protest against Screenrights’ policy to undermine directors’ royalty payments

The Australian Directors Guild (ADG) and Australian Screen Directors Authorship Society (ASDACS) have criticised Screenrights, the multi-million dollar organisation established to collect and distribute statutory royalty payments for film and television makers, for its recent introduction of a policy that undermines Australian and foreign screen directors entitlements to royalty payments. 

Kingston Anderson, CEO of ADG and ASDACS said, “We’re horrified that Screenrights would ignore the clear royalty entitlements of screen directors, particularly those in Australia who struggle to earn an average income.” 

On 1 September 2015, Screenrights unilaterally introduced its Express Dispute Resolution Policy (EDRP) for the handling of disputes relating to royalty payments for film and television. It applies where both the director and producer are claiming royalties for the retransmission of television programs for example. 

Under the EDRP, Screenrights makes two critical assumptions that clearly undermine directors’ entitlements to royalties: 

  1. Against Australian directors - Screenrights refuses to presume that Australian directors are entitled to retransmission royalties unless their share of entitlement is specifically set out in the contract. Meaning that many Australian directors may miss out on their fair share of royalty payments. 

  2. Against foreign directors - Screenrights refuses to recognise laws in other countries such as Europe and South America where directors have well-established and clear legal entitlements to royalty payments. For example, if a Spanish film is aired in Australia on FOXTEL, the Spanish director’s royalties may now be paid incorrectly to the producer rather than the director. 

Kingston Anderson has criticised the way Screenrights is trying to change its rules to deny directors an avenue of fair appeal over money they are owed. 

“Screenrights say they have consulted when in fact this policy sits in direct contradiction to many of the key issues Australian directors raised,” he says. “Screenrights have not taken on board any of our objections or suggestions to make the policy fairer for directors around the world.”

The ADG and ASDACS today join the chorus of opposition to the Screenrights’ EDRP from CISAC, the world’s leading network of screen directors’ and writers’ societies and the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG). See: 

CISAC
http://www.cisac.org/Newsroom/Articles/CISAC-supports-Australian-writers-and-directors 

Australian Writers’ Guild
http://www.awg.com.au/news-18/latest-news/737-new-screenrights- policy-slammed-as-opaque-and-unreasonable.html

Contact:
Kingston Anderson
CEO, ADG and ASDACS
Phone: 1300 539 639