ASDACS is part of the worldwide campaign for a fair deal for directors being spearheaded by Writers & 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Australian screen directors are denied any ongoing return in the films and TV they make because of an outdated and unfair interpretation of Australia’s copyright law.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 more than 35 international territories including most of Europe, South America and Hong Kong receive ongoing  economic returns for the films they make.

 

  • U.S. 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.

 

2.      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.

 

3.      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.