Interview with Copyright Agency|Viscopy

1) What is Copyright Agency|Viscopy?

Copyright Agency|Viscopy is a not for profit rights management organisation. We enable the use of text and images in return for fair payment to writers, visual artists and publishers. This includes managing the Viscopy business which delivers licensing services to artists and users of images.

2) What is the Resale Royalty?

The artists’ resale royalty scheme is relatively new legislation that sees artists receiving royalties on certain resales of their work. Since the start of the scheme on 9 June 2010 it has generated royalties totalling more than $870,000 from more than 4,500 resales, attributed to more than 440 artists
(over 60% of these are indigenous artists). While some royalties have been paid to the families of deceased artists, the majority have been paid to living artists – in fact, the youngest artist to receive a royalty was 21 years old.

A royalty is payable if:
• the seller purchased the work after 8 June 2010;
• the work resells for $1,000 or more (including GST);
• the resale was not a private sale from one individual to another;
• the artist is an Australian citizen or resident;
If the artist has died:
• it was less than 70 years ago; and
• there is a beneficiary or estate with a connection to Australia.

3) Who are you and what is your role?

My name is Tristan Chant and I’m the Visual Artist Manager at Copyright Agency|Viscopy. My role was developed to enhance services to our visual artist members and assist with the implementation of the resale royalty scheme. I am also the membership manager for Viscopy andthe transactional licensing schemes.

4) How are you different to other companies?

We offer centralised licensing services for visual artists – we can be a ‘one stop’ source of licences to enable others to use an artist’s work with their permission and in exchange for a fair payment for that use. We’re also not for profit which means that we only deduct our administration fees from the royalties and fees earned by our members, to cover the services we provide.

5) How do you think artists see royalties?

I think artists see royalties as a positive addition to their income from creating art.

6) How does an artist get royalties?

There are a number of ways artists can receive royalties. If you are a member of Viscopy, we act as your worldwide agent and licence your works on your behalf. This includes use in publications, catalogues, merchandise and online reproductions. Another way to receive royalties is through the statutory licences. Copyright Agency manages the Commonwealth Government’s statutory licences; these statutory licenses provide schools and government access to use content without needing individual copyright clearances and also provide fair payment to the rightsholders for those uses.

For Viscopy members, we can also collect statutory licence income from Screenrights for images that have been used in television broadcasts. We also have agreements in place with similar organisations around the world that enable the use of foreign text and images in Australia, and the collection of fees and royalties for the use of Australian works overseas. And finally, there’s potential royalty income through the artists’ resale royalty scheme which I’ve spoken about above.

7) When does an artist qualify to receive royalties?

There are a number of ways an artist’s work can attract royalties. Firstly – by having an eligible resale of your work through the artists’ resale royalty scheme.

Royalties and licence fees can also come about from transactional by Viscopy. Finally, if your work is picked up in a sample survey from our statutory licences.

8) Are there any limitations to receiving royalties for your work?

For the resale royalty scheme it is 5% of the sale price (less admin and GST costs) for works that meet the eligibility criteria. For statutory and transactional licensing it is based on the type and volume of usage and how your works been used – for educational purposes, for government or commercial use and suchlike.

9) Is signing up something we need to do now or in the future?

I would recommend all artists consider signing up to Copyright Agency|Viscopy and register for resale royalty payments. Membership is free and while there may not be an immediate payment for you this will help to streamline payments in the future. Membership of Viscopy will allow us to include your work in our repertoire so it can be licensed. We are also a great contact and referral point for industry related enquiries.

10) How does an artist register?

Registration for the resale royalty scheme can be found at For membership to Copyright Agency|Viscopy artists can head over Both sites have online forms or downloadable PDF versions, they only take a few minutes to complete online.

11) What have you found out about artists when dealing with them?

Artists are a great group of professionals to work with, they are always eager to learn about developments that affect their industry and passionate about what they do for a living. It been great to see artists start to realise the value in their works beyond primary sales.

12) What funds do you run for artists and art professionals?

We run a fund called the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, which has two main areas of focus. Firstly, we have the Major Cultural Projects Fund. The priority for this fund is to support innovation in the Australian creative industries and to develop local and foreign markets for Australian works. Recent recipients of funding have included NAVA, Arts Law, Biennale of Sydney and 4A Gallery. A full list of projects funded is available here.

Secondly, we have the Creative Industries Career Fund. This fund supports individual Australian creators and those involved in the creative industries who wish to develop their skills and take their careers to the next level. Applicants can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to undertake training and other activities that will enhance their careers. Projects supported by the fund can be found here, and it’s a great indication of the diverse range of projects Australian creators are participating in. More information about the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund is available here.

13) What art do you have in the office?

We lease most of our works from Artbank. My favourite would have to be the Ginger Riley (Ngak Ngak) in the board room.

14) How do we find you?

Our offices are located at Level 15/233 Castlereagh St, Sydney, 2000.
Ph: 02 9394 7614

Information sheets and guides

Information for art market professionals

FAQs for art market professionals

6 steps to managing the artists’ resale royalty in your business

Code of Practice for Artists’ Resale Royalty Scheme

Information for artists

FAQs for artists

Information for buyers and sellers

FAQs for buyers and sellers

Information for Indigenous art centres


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