The Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) has launched a multi-million dollar suit against collection and distribution service Screenrights.
The suit, which will have its first hearing on 5 April, alleges that Screenrights “may have misdirected possibly tens of millions of dollars in royalties that should have been paid to writers”. The AWG further alleges “misleading or deceptive conduct” by Screenrights for claiming to represent writers.
As the case is now sub judice, Screenrights has declined to respond to the allegations outside of court. It did issue a short statement, noting,
Screenrights has offered to mediate the issues raised by AWGACS.
We consider it unfortunate therefore that AWGACS has initiated litigation.
Screenrights pays the appropriate rights holders in accordance with Australian law and will defend the claims.
Screenrights continues to collect and pay royalties on behalf of its members.
Previously, Screenrights has stated that it does not require those claiming money from it to state their profession, only to confirm that they hold rights to the title for which they make a claim.
In 2014 Screenrights announced a new disbursement service. Last year the organisation introduced a new dispute resolution process, which was criticised by some industry guilds including DEGNZ on this side of the ditch.