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 secondary royalties for Australian and New Zealand writers.

With more than 2,170 members and 34 partnerships with overseas collecting societies, AWGACS has collected more than $27 million in 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. You can update your credits list here

e: [email protected]
ph: 02 9319 0339 | 1300 552 228

There are a number of writers for whom AWGACS has collected secondary royalties, but we have not been able to contact. If you are on this list, let us know and we’ll get those royalties to you.

Jan Sardi AO - Chair

Jan Sardi AO is one of Australia’s eminent screenwriters. In 1997 he received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay, Shine, as well as BAFTA, Writers Guild of America and Golden Globe nominations. He has won numerous awards for his work in film and television. Other credits include Love’s Brother, an award-winning Australian/UK co-production which he also directed. He adapted the hit films The Notebook and Mao’s Last Dancer for the screen, as well as the highly acclaimed miniseries The Secret River (written with Mac Gudgeon), based on the novel by Kate Grenville. Jan is a member of both the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA). He is a former President of the Australian Writers’ Guild. He is the Chair of the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society and has previously served on the Board of Film Victoria. Jan’s service to writers and the screen industry has been recognised by Film Victoria with the 'Jan Sardi Award For Achievement In Screenwriting', an award presented annually to a writer by the Victorian State Government.

Kodie Bedford

Kodie was born in Western Australia, with strong family ties to the East Kimberley. Working mostly in television, Kodie’s credits include Mystery Road (ABC), Squinters (ABC) and Grace Beside Me (NITV/ABC). She made her directorial debut with a short horror film, Scout. Kodie received the Balnaves Fellowship for 2019 to develop her own play with Belvoir Theatre, Cursed! which was staged for the Belvoir Theatre 2020 season. Most recently, Kodie co-wrote and script produced ABC Iview series All My Friends are Racist which was nominated for Best Short Form Comedy for the 2021 AACTA awards and she also script produced and wrote for Warwick Thornton’s vampire show Firebite for AMC+.

Marcia Gardner

Marcia graduated with an honours degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has worked in the Australian film and television industry for the past twenty five years, writing, script editing and story editing on some of Australia’s best known drama series including All Saints, Blue Heelers, Heartbreak High and Medivac. She script produced over one hundred episodes of the AFI award-winning drama series Stingers for the Nine Network and went on to script produce its masthead drama series Sea Patrol. She has been involved in drama program development for various companies, including Fremantle Media (Mr. & Mrs. Murder, Better Man), and Playmaker Media (Hiding, Lovechild), for various networks including Network Ten, SBS, ABC and the Nine Network and has written for The Doctor Blake Mysteries. Most recently she script produced and has written episodes for seasons two through seven of the internationally acclaimed Foxtel drama series Wentworth, which won the 2016 AACTA Award for Best TV Drama. Also in 2016, Marcia received the Australian Writers’ Guild’s Hector Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the craft of Script Producing.

Briar Grace-Smith ONZM

Briar Grace-Smith ONZM is a filmmaker and one of New Zealand’s most celebrated writers of award-winning plays, screenplays, short fiction and television scripts. Her most recent film, Cousins, an adaptation of the acclaimed New Zealand novel by Patricia Grace, was released in New Zealand in 2022 to unwavering critical and audience acclaim. Briar is an inaugural recipient of the Arts Foundation Laureate Award and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for her contribution to theatre, television and screen.

Claire Pullen

Claire Pullen is the Group CEO of the Australian Writers’ Guild and the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS). She is a high-impact policy innovator and former media and communications director with over 15 years of experience in NGOs, working extensively to improve the rights of individuals and communities. Claire led the community campaign to decriminalise abortion in NSW and her policy paper list on firefighter occupational cancer now sits in legislation in all states and territories in Australia. She has won awards for her pioneering feminist and representation work, and has appeared in courts and tribunals throughout Australia. Claire has worked as a freelance journalist, has owned two microbusinesses and has represented the legal and disability communities as a Board member. Claire holds a Master’s degree in Labour Law and Relations from the University of Sydney, a first-class Honours degree and several other qualifications. A skilled lobbyist and high-impact campaign strategist, she has now turned her love of Aussie content towards the fight to improve rights and remuneration for Australian screen and stage writers.

What We Do

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.


How we work

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 policies, governance and compliance reports here:

AWGACS policies and reports

Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies



What royalties come through AWGACS?

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.

Where do  royalties through AWGACS come from?

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.

International secondary royalties

AWGACS has negotiated partnerships with 34 foreign collecting societies from whom we can collect for members’ international secondary royalties.

Our partner collecting societies include (but are not limited to): ALBAUTOR (Albania), ARGENTORES (Argentina), SABAM (Belgium), LITERAR-MECHANA (Austria), ATN (Chile), REDES (Colombia), DHFR (Croatia), DILIA (Czech Republic), EAU (Estonia), KOPIOSTO (Finland), SACD (France), SCAM (France), GCA (Georgia), VG WORT (Germany), SOPE (Greece), FILMJUS (Hungary), SIAE (Italy), AKKA / LAA (Latvia), LATGA (Lithuania), 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), and 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.

Australian and New Zealand secondary royalties

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.

How do I know if AWGACS can collect international royalties for me?

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 [email protected] and find out.

Collective Licensing: Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of this document is to provide you with an overview of AWGACS Collective Licensing Scheme.

This document is not a substitution for legal advice and provides general information only.  We encourage you to speak to The Arts Law Centre or your legal adviser if you require further assistance.

How does the AWG Authorship Collecting Society (AWGACS) work for Members?

AWGACS is a royalty collecting society run by writers for writers.  Collecting societies, like AWGACS, collect small amounts of money on behalf of their Members from domestic and international sources.  Members are then paid the royalties they are owed through distributions.  Different rules and agreements apply to the collection and distribution of royalties for Members in different parts of the world, and also for different sources of income.  AWGACS navigates these rules and agreements for its Members.

The AWGACS Board is comprised of experienced writers who volunteer their time to ensure that the distribution rules applied by AWGACS are fair for all Members and that AWGACS is governed by the highest standards.

What's the purpose of the Member Licence?  

By signing a Collection Agreement for Secondary Royalties, you grant AWGACS the authority to administer your secondary rights both within Australia and internationally.

This does not affect the assignment or transfer of the copyrights in the scripts you write and it does not stop the producers you are working with from exploiting the primary rights in your work.  (The “primary rights” are the rights to: a) make a film or TV show from your script, b) broadcast that film or TV show and c) sell or otherwise exploit that film or TV show.) By signing the Member Licence you are simply licensing AWGACS to collect royalties on your behalf from the exploitation of secondary rights in situations where collective management is the most appropriate (and sometimes the only) option.

Secondary rights’ (or ‘secondary use’) involve situations where a third party uses a work that has already been distributed to the public – such as the retransmission of free-to-air broadcasts by Pay TV providers and the copying and viewing of content by educational and government organisations.

This type of agreement is normal practice around the world, for example in the United Kingdom royalties for the use of secondary rights are collected by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).  Similarly, in Australia, writers of musical compositions have similar sorts of agreements with their collecting society, APRA AMCOS.

What does the Member Licence allow the AWG Authorship Collecting Society to do?  

The Member Licence authorises AWGACS to pursue, collect and administer secondary royalties income within or outside Australia through statutory or collective licensing schemes.

Although this may appear broad, in practice the Member’s Secondary Rights are only applied in specific circumstances to activities such as the following. These may be referred to as “secondary use” in different parts of the world:

  • Private copying
  • Rental and public lending
  • Simultaneous unaltered retransmission by cable or pay TV of primary broadcasts initially transmitted by wire or wireless means or any other available means
  • 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
  • Use for educational purposes

Royalties from these sorts of uses are difficult for individual Members to monitor. The Member Licence enables AWGACS to collect and distribute Members’ royalties for these uses on their behalf providing a simple and effective mechanism for Members to obtain royalties for these uses.

Why does the Member Licence refer to Screenrights?  

The Member Licence specifically refers to Screenrights as it is the nominated Australian collecting society currently mandated by the federal government to collect all royalties for certain types of secondary uses including government copying, educational copying and communication and retransmission. The Member Licence equally applies to overseas collecting societies such as SACD (France), LIRA (the Netherlands) and the other international collecting societies that are listed on our website.

What should Members tell their producer?  

Prior to signing an agreement with a producer or distributor, you should inform the producer that you have entered into the Member Licence with AWGACS. You should also ask for some simple amendments to the Writer’s Agreement, for example, depending on the terms of the agreement this could be along the lines of:


Suggested amendment


SASA 2008

(Series and Serials Agreement)

Clause 26.1: Collecting Society Payments

The Producer acknowledges that the writer has preassigned the secondary right to AWGACS and that nothing in this agreement will prevent AWGACS from collecting and distributing these secondary royalties to the writer. The Producer will not claim…


MATA 2010

(Miniseries and Telemovies Agreement)

Clause 22.1: Collecting Society Payments

The Producer acknowledges that the writer has preassigned the secondary right to AWGACS and that nothing in this agreement will prevent AWGACS from collecting and distributing these secondary royalties to the writer. The Producer will not claim…


Other Contracts

Rights/Secondary Rights clause

The Producer acknowledges that the writer has preassigned the secondary right to AWGACS and that nothing in this agreement will prevent AWGACS from collecting and distributing these secondary royalties to the writer. The Producer will not make any claim for secondary rights held by the writer.


If the producer needs more information or has any questions regarding the Member’s Licence with AWGACS, please ask them to contact us using the contact details below.

How can the Member Licence be terminated?  

The Member Licence can be terminated at any time with six (6) months’ notice. You can do this by simply emailing or writing to AWGACS stating that you wish to terminate you Member Licence with AWGACS.

Need more information?

If you or a producer you are working with requires more information regarding the Member Licence, please contact one of our friendly staff:

 On 02 9319 0339 or via email at [email protected].