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Screen Australia hands back the rights

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Antarctica, Muriel’s Wedding, Round the Twist and Strictly Ballroom are just a few iconic Australian projects that make up a list of over 1200 titles whose rights will revert back to the producer as of today. At an event today marking the occasion with some of these producers, Screen Australia announced the scheduled reversion date of 1 January 2016 will advance six months to 1 July 2015.

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In January 2009 Screen Australia first signalled the reversion of rights seven years after commercial release for all production investments. This policy affected all new feature, miniseries, documentaries, TV Series and/or telemovies approved from 1 January 2009. It also included all titles funded prior to 31 December 2008 by Screen Australia and predecessor agencies Film Finance Corporation and Australian Film Commission. At the time the decision was taken, Screen Australia’s intention was to share up to 50% of its income with the producer on those titles. The agency will now forego all rights and revenue from reverted titles in favour of the producer except for a 1% copyright interest. Screen Australia will retain credit rights for its investment and the right to require that the film continue to be publicly accessible.

Screen Australia Head of Business and Audience, Richard Harris said, “We decided to bring the date forward quite simply because it seemed like the right thing to do. Screen Australia is constantly asking how it can empower the industry, and we felt that there was little reason for the agency to be holding on to rights on projects that were not maximising their potential for exploitation. This decision will not only remove the constraints on producers wanting to breathe life into their intellectual property, and there are some much loved and revered titles in the list, but also sends an important message about how the agency wants to do business.”

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