What is CSCS?
The Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society (CSCS) was established by the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), but is a separate organization with a distinct mandate to claim, collect, administer and distribute, on a collective basis, foreign authors’ levies to which film and television writers are entitled under the national copyright legislation of certain countries.
What does CSCS do?
CSCS will establish claims, collect and distribute, on behalf of its members, authors’ levy payments arising from secondary uses made in Europe and other jurisdictions.
Under the national copyright laws of several countries, “authors” of audiovisual works are entitled to be remunerated for certain secondary uses of their works. The uses are “secondary” in that they take place after the “primary uses” — such as theatrical exhibition or television broadcast.
Secondary uses for which CSCS collects include:
- Private copying of audiovisual works (the blank tape levy), which compensates copyright holders for the loss caused by the widespread private consumer copying of audiovisual works;
- Rental of videocassettes and DVDs (in the form of levies paid by video/DVD rental stores and libraries etc. for the right to lend their work) which compensates copyright holders; and
- Cable retransmission of broadcast signals to compensate for the re-use by cable retransmission of audiovisual works originally aired by broadcast signal.
Why am I entitled to these monies?
The entitlement is based on the credited writer’s status as an “author” of an audiovisual work under the national legislation of applicable foreign countries. Pursuant to international copyright treaties to which Canada and foreign countries are parties, countries subject to the treaties must extend “national treatment” to foreign authors — that is, Canadian authors must receive the same treatment as domestic authors in foreign treaty countries.
Why should I join CSCS?
It would be difficult if not impossible for individual writers to track all uses of their rights, particularly overseas. For this reason, CSCS has been created to administer, monitor, claim and collect secondary use payments for audiovisual works written by its members. By joining CSCS, you will permit CSCS to collect any scondary use royalties/levies that may be owing to you.
Do I have to join CSCS?
If you are a member of the WGC, we urge you to join CSCS so that CSCS can collect secondary use monies on your behalf. CSCS is only able to collect for you if you have signed a rightsholder agreement. If you are not a WGC member, you can still join CSCS by paying a one-time initiation fee of $50. By joining CSCS, you authorize CSCS to collect secondary use monies on your behalf.
CSCS is a non-profit corporation, and as such shall distribute all monies collected to the rights holder after deducting an administration fee to cover costs.
In what countries will CSCS collect money?
A number of countries around the world have introduced various levies for secondary exploitation of audiovisual works. Such levies are most widespread in Europe. Legislation in many of the members of the European Union (EU) requires “equitable remuneration” to be paid to “authors” of audiovisual works in respect of private copying (a blank tape levy), which is, generally speaking, divided between and payable through collecting societies to audiovisual authors.
All member states of the EU now have or are in the process of enacting legislation that establishes an entitlement to equitable remuneration for the rental of audiovisual works. These entitlements can take a variety of forms and may result in levies in some cases.
How do I claim my share of these monies?
If you are a member of the WGC, CSCS is authorized to collect these monies on your behalf.
If CSCS has received any monies on your behalf, you will be advised in writing. You are entitled to receive your share of any levies upon completing a rightsholder warranty and release form, and providing any other information that may be required by CSCS as evidence of your entitlement to the monies. Monies will be distributed to members on an annual basis.
What do I need to provide as proof of entitlement?
CSCS collects secondary use monies for members who are authors of audiovisual works (i.e. screenwriters, not producers). This includes Canadian projects produced outside the WGC’s jurisdiction. However, we must advise that if you have signed contracts not governed by one of the WGC’s collective agreements in which you assigned your copyright and your entitlement to claim foreign levies to a third party (i.e. a producer), we may be prevented from successfully making a claim on your behalf.
In order for CSCS to include projects produced outside the WGC’s jurisdiction as part of its repertoire of works, you must submit a credit sheet providing details on the work. CSCS will make every effort to submit a claim on your behalf; however, the success of the claim will depend on whether the information provided meets the requirements of the foreign collection societies.
Once monies have been received, you may be required to provide a copy of your contract as evidence of your entitlement to the monies.
How much money will I receive?
Amounts paid out to writers will depend on such factors as how many produced works they have in their repertoire, the length of the productions, the form of exploitation, and the popularity of the works in each jurisdiction.
Are similar monies available in Canada?
At this point, CSCS is focusing on foreign monies as similar levies are not yet available in Canada.
Who is eligible to join?
Membership in CSCS is open to screenwriters with one or more writing credits on produced audiovisual works.
Acceptance as a member is conditional upon approval by the board of directors of CSCS.
All applications are subject to the articles and by-laws of CSCS.
What if I change my mind after joining CSCS?
You can resign as a member by providing 90 days written notice.
Who controls CSCS?
CSCS was established by the Writers Guild of Canada, but it is a separate organization with a distinct mandate. Its board of directors includes the members of the Writers Guild of Canada council:
Jill Golick - President
Andrew Wreggitt - Vice President
Charles Lazer - Treasurer
Maureen Parker - Executive Director
David Zitzerman - Legal Counsel
Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Marisa King, Director of Operations
Telephone: (416) 979-7907, ext. 5231
Fax: (416) 979-9273
Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society
366 Adelaide Street W., Suite 401
M5V 1R9 Canada