Established by the Australian Writers’ Guild in 1996, the Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS) is a not-for-profit collecting society for screenwriters. AWGACS collects and distributes international and domestic royalties for Australian and New Zealand writers.
With more than 1,600 members and 29 partnerships with overseas collecting societies, AWGACS has collected more than $15 million in overseas royalties and is expanding into new territories.
Membership is free, with contributions to AWGACS’ running costs from members’ royalties when we collect them.
Please ensure you provide us with a complete list of your credits to make it easier to identify payments that may be owing to you.
ACN 073 648 076
Tim, a writer/producer and executive producer, has been working in Australian television drama and comedy for thirty years. He has written, edited and produced some of Australia’s most popular and critically acclaimed television series, mini series and movies including Love Child, The Straits, House Husbands, Scorched, Stupid Stupid Man, My Place, Emerald Falls, The Strip, Black Jack, Lockie Leonard, White Collar Blue, Sea Change, Wildside, Water Rats, Fallen Angels, G.P., and A Country Practice. His producing credits include Love Child, Old School, The Straits, Changi, Grass Roots, Emerald Falls, Love Is A Four Letter Word, The Road From Coorain and The Farm. Tim was President of the AWG from 2007 – 2011 and has been a member of the Writers Guild board since 1998. Tim has won AWGIE and AFI awards for his script writing and his produced projects have won multiple awards across the industry. In 2015, Tim was elected to the Executive Committee of Writers & Directors Worldwide in his capacity as Chairman of the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS).
Chris has worked in the television industry for over thirty years, the last twenty as a drama writer and script editor. He has more than a hundred credits on series and serial shows from G.P. to Crownies and in children’s television, from Bananas in Pyjamas to Sam Fox: Extreme Adventure. He is an AWGIE winner. Chris serves on the AWGACS board and various AWG committees because he believes writers must take responsibility and act in their own best interest. Nobody else is going to do it for us.
Jacqueline is the Executive Director of the AWG. She sits on the Audiovisual Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC). Her previous executive positions include Director of the Whitlam Institute, Director of the European Network on Debt and Development, Director Marketing and Communications CARE Australia, and Director Development, World Development Movement. Jacqueline was Vice Chair of the Board of the Australian Copyright Council, Chair of the Board of Jubilee Australia and the Jubilee Research Institute, Chair of TREEAID, Founding member of CIDESC – an International Centre on Social Cultural and Economic Rights and Member of the Board of the National Foundation for Australian Women. Jacqueline has a Masters in International Studies – International Law and Economics, from the University of London SOAS.
Kristen Dunphy has 25 years’ experience writing, story producing and script editing Australian television drama. In 2012 she was awarded the Foxtel Fellowship for her significant contribution to Australian screenwriting. She has received three AWGIE Awards for The Straits, East West 101 and White Collar Blue and has been nominated for numerous other awards, including two NSW Literary Awards and two AFIs for screenwriting. Her ABC credits include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Wildside, Fallen Angels, Love is a Four Letter Word, Something in the Air, G.P, Heartland and Correlli. As well as telemovies, she has written programs for children and teenagers, such as Heartbreak High, Blue Water High, Mirror Mirror, The Ferals, Playschool, Conspiracy 365 and Ready for This. Kristen recently co-created and co-wrote internationally acclaimed mini-series The Principal.
Peter joined the AWG in 2004. He has spent most of his professional life writing television drama. In the UK, he writes for Eastenders and Holby City. He was Senior Script Editor at Eastenders for many years, wrote for Waterloo Road, and was Script Producer for Eastenders’ teen-based spinoff, Eastenders: E20. He also has a number of original projects in development. In Australia he has written for all Home and Away, Out of the Blue and is currently writing for Neighbours. Peter has written children’s shows Worst Year of my Life Again and Specky Magee.
AWGACS collects royalty income across a range of countries and a huge number of film and television titles then distributes them to members.
Secondary royalties (also known as statutory royalties in some cases) are a complex revenue source, governed by laws, conventions and agreements that differ between countries and collecting societies. Although each secondary royalty payment can be tiny, they can add up to a substantial payment to writers. It would be impossible for most writers to track down all the secondary royalties from so many sources and countries by themselves, which is why creators established collecting societies such as AWGACS to do this on their behalf.
Secondary royalties are separate to residuals (or primary royalties), which are what the producers are required to pay writers based on what they have negotiated in their contracts.
Our staff spend many hours researching production information to keep our vast database up to date. They research archives and the Internet, contact members, producers, broadcasters and staff of large and small production companies, then collate all the data in many forms and languages in order to pay each member their rightful secondary royalty entitlements.
AWGACS is a member of Writers And Directors Worldwide (WDW), an organisation within the international affiliation of collecting societies (CISAC). WDW campaigns around the world for fair remuneration for authors. You can find more information on WDW on their website.
AWGACS sets the highest standards. As well as the obligatory governance and financial standards required by law, including annual reports to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, we voluntarily submit ourselves to the Code of Conduct for Collecting Societies and annual reports to the Hon Kevin Lindgren QC for reviews and audits. We belong to the international Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, the world’s leading network of authors’ societies, and abide by its professional rules and resolutions with annual compliance surveys and audits.
Members are welcome to attend our AGMs and can see our most recent governance and compliance reports here:
Royalties that are collected by AWGACS arise from the reuse of your work. These are separate to primary royalties (i.e. those from residuals payments) and are often referred to as secondary royalties, because it is the “secondary use” of the work.
Please note that AWGACS will not pursue residual payments but we encourage AWG Members to access the many Guild services available to help them receive these payments.
Secondary royalties are generated when members’ works are reused for secondary purposes such as private copying, rental and public lending, re-transmission, re-communication of work, view-on-demand, projection in cinemas and similar places, sale for private use, educational recording, copying and/or communication. Some of this occurs through statutory schemes from laws in Australia and around the world.
AWGACS has negotiated partnerships with 29 foreign collecting societies from whom we can collect for members’ international secondary royalties.
Our partner collecting societies include (but are not limited to): ARGENTORES (Argentina), LITERAR-MECHANA (Austria), ATN (Chile), EAU (Estonia), KOPIOSTO (Finland), SACD (France), VG WORT (Germany), SOPE (Greece), FILMJUS (Hungary), SIAE (Italy), AKKA / LAA (Latvia), ADAM (Mauritius), SOGEM (Mexico), LIRA (Netherlands), NORWACO (Norway), ZAPA (Poland), SPA AUTORES (Portugal), LITA (Slovakia), SAZAS (Slovenia), DAMA (Spain), SGAE (Spain), SUISSIMAGE (Switzerland), SSA (Switzerland), ALCS (United Kingdom), AGADU (Uruguay).
The majority of these partnerships are with European countries due to the fact that their copyright laws often acknowledge that author’s entitlements to secondary royalties are an important passive income stream that cannot be given away.
AWGACS also collects and distributes secondary royalties in Australia and New Zealand for its members as originally collected through the Audio-Visual Copyright Society trading as Screenrights.
Under copyright laws in Australia and New Zealand, original creators of a work generally own copyright in the work. However, copyright and the entitlement to both primary and secondary royalties can be assigned to a third party, such as a producer. Therefore, it is important that writers retain their secondary royalty entitlements within their contracts and we encourage AWG members to access the Guild services to secure their Australian and New Zealand secondary royalties.
If you are a writer whose work has been shown overseas, there may be international secondary royalties available that AWGACS can collect on your behalf. All you need to do is contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out.
AWGACS is the right place to keep track of and collect your secondary royalties, particularly internationally; becoming a member will let us do this for you.
AWGACS collects for Australian and New Zealand film and television writers across all genres including:
If you have a produced credit for film or television you can become an AWGACS member.
AWG membership is separate to your membership with AWGACS. While you don’t have to be an AWG member to join AWGACS, we encourage writers to join the Guild to access the excellent services and opportunities available to Guild members.
As an individual writer, it is almost impossible to monitor and claim all the secondary royalties owed to you around the world, so AWGACS will actively pursue your secondary royalties using our sophisticated infrastructure and expertise. Don’t miss out on valuable secondary royalty income.
Our members agree to the AWGACS Articles of Association and this includes:
AWGACS is not-for-profit and membership is free. There are no joining fees or annual or ongoing fees. If you receive a secondary royalty payment from us, a small proportion is deducted for AWGACS’ operating costs. The deduction includes a 5% levy towards the culture of Australian performance writing. These deductions will be clearly marked on your statements.
The collection of overseas secondary royalties is complicated and painstaking work. Every territory has different laws and conventions. Each collecting society has different registration, collection and distribution requirements. There are also global standards and requirements for registration and identification of performance writers and scripts.
AWGACS has close to 1,600 Members and 38,000 works in its database. We register our members and their works with every international partner collecting society (over 25) as well as with international databases of works and authors, so that you will receive the maximum secondary royalty income due to you as it arises.