Copyright Agency collects licence fees for uses of content that would otherwise require a copyright clearance from a rightsholder.

If you are a rightsholder or creator, you can claim a payment for a use if the use is covered by a Copyright Agency commercial licence or the copying schemes (statutory licences) we manage for government and educational purposes.

To be entitled to receive a payment, you must:

  • have been a rightsholder since the work was created (be the first owner of copyright);
  • have become a rightsholder by acquiring rights;
  • have been appointed by the rightsholder as their agent to collect Copyright Agency payments on their behalf; or
  • have been allocated a payment by a foreign collecting society under its distribution policy.


You can acquire rights:

  • by a rightsholder assigning them to you in writing
  • by a rightsholder giving you an exclusive licence in writing
  • by inheritance (under a will or intestacy laws)

You are not automatically entitled to receive a payment if:

  • you published the work; and/or
  • the work was made for you

In most cases, your entitlement to claim will depend on whether you have acquired, in writing, the rights covered by Copyright Agency’s licences.

assigning RIGHTS

Copyright owners may assign or license rights to others. Assignment of copyright and licences can include a number of limitations and conditions. These can include limitations on the type of use that can be made of the work, the period of time for which a licence applies and requirements for payment.

how we distribute payments

All amounts received by the Copyright Agency after deduction of Copyright Agency’s costs and the 1.5% allocation to the Cultural Fund are available for distribution to members. The Copyright Agency distributes the licence fees received under each scheme separately. It is done this way because the works used in each scheme can be different, so we keep them separate to be as fair and equitable as possible.

See more about how we calculate licence fees and distribute royalties and/or view our Distribution Policy.

If you’re a member and would like to see when the next round of payments will be made, see our Distribution Schedule.

Tax on your payments

Download our information sheet Tax on Copyright Agency | Viscopy payments.

our administration fees

As a not-for-profit organisation, the Copyright Agency funds its operations by deducting its costs from the licence fees received each year. Our deductions for administrative costs vary from licence scheme to licence scheme, and from distribution to distribution. For a small number of schemes, the deductions are fixed. For example, our administrative fee for the resale royalty scheme is 15% of royalties collected.
See more about our Administration Fees.

claim payments

We allocate copyright licence fees to rightsholders in accordance with our Distribution Policy. In most cases, we allocate licence fees using information about usage from surveys of licensees.
To ensure you receive your notifications and advice of any payments, you need to activate your online member account.

You can change the details of your nominated bank account via your online account, or contact our Member Services team  between 9:00am–5:00pm Monday to Friday on
1800 066 844 (toll free within Australia) or by email.

notified payment shares

In the past, when a work was identified in one of the Copyright Agency’s sample surveys, we made payment to one rightsholder only and that rightsholder had the responsibility of ensuring other rightsholders received their payment share.

This has changed under Copyright Agency’s notified payment method. Under this method, Copyright Agency members receive individual agreed payment shares directly. By reducing the need for others to make secondary payments, this will improve the speed of payments to all eligible rightsholders.


Unless we have received information about all the people entitled to receive a share of a payment, recipients must share payments with others who are entitled. For example, a publisher may need to share a payment to authors and illustrators.

In many cases, we have information about agreements to share payments (principally in book publishing contracts), and we can pay each person directly. Otherwise, you need to share payments with others entitled to a share. This is usually where you have agreed in a contract to share payments.

When you receive a payment, you will receive a payment summary and payment spreadsheet. These tell you if you need to share a payment, which is affected by the payment model.

Journalists, staff writers, photographers and cartoonists

There is a special provision in the Copyright Act (section 35(4) for employees of newspapers, magazines and other periodical publications. In most cases, the first owner of copyright in works created by employees, as part of their job, is the employer. To find out more, go to the member page for Journalists, Photographers, Cartoonists and Illustrators.

excluded payments

In some cases, a copyright owner may not want to receive payments from the educational statutory licence but have not indicated their intentions in their terms and conditions. Copyright owners can instruct Copyright Agency to exclude their works from allocation of payments from this licence.

If you do not want to be allocated payments from statutory licence compensation, please contact Member Services between 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday on the Member Helpline
1800 066 844 (toll free within Australia) or by email.

Conversely, if a copyright owner or rightsholder wants to include their works under the licences we administer, contact Member Services between 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday on the Member Helpline 1800 066 844 (toll free within Australia) or by email.

complaints and disputes

Complaints and disputes arise from time to time between members regarding who controls the rights in works and, consequently, to whom Copyright Agency should distribute money for any copying.

We are committed to fair and transparent dealings with our licensees and members so we’ve developed a complaints procedure. Our procedure complies with the requirements of Australian Standard 10002:2006, guidelines for complaints handling in organisations (the Standard). The procedure is administered in accordance with the Standard, and the Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies.

You can lodge a complaint if:

  • you are a member of Copyright Agency or
  • a licensee of Copyright Agency e.g. a school, university, corporation, TAFE, government department, document delivery service or local council.

See Compliments & Complaints.

Complaints that cannot be resolved through our Complaints Handling procedure may be resolved through our Dispute Resolution procedure.

The Copyright Agency’s Disputed Allocations Resolution Procedure (DARP) has been developed to assist Copyright Agency members when a dispute arises between members regarding a Copyright Agency allocation or payment. The Disputed Allocations Resolution Procedure aims to assist members to resolve disputes quickly. A dedicated Copyright Agency Disputes Officer oversees all disputes between members and is available to guide members through the process. View the DARP here.


Copyright Agency relies on warranties from claimants that they are entitled to claim. We can’t give advice about this. In some cases, rights arrangements such as publishing contracts can be ambiguous or unclear about entitlement to Copyright Agency payments. Members may need to seek their own advice.

This information is for guidance only. It is not legal advice.

4 February 2016

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