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Distribution information guide: Cinemas & film festivals

This information guide explains how the licence fees we collect from cinemas & film festivals are paid out as royalties.

Where does the money come from?

APRA collects licence fees from Australian and New Zealand cinemas & film festivals. This includes major and independent cinema complexes, independent cinema houses, film festivals and IMAX theatres.

What information does APRA AMCOS use to determine who should be paid?

Electronic records of all the songs used in theatrically released films (cue sheets) are provided to APRA by production companies, music publishers and other societies.

APRA also receives box office reports from Numero, a data collection partner specialising in cinema releases and box office figures, for virtually all films screened in Australia and New Zealand.

How are songs matched to the data APRA AMCOS receives?

Films reported by Numero are directly matched to the cue sheets we hold in our database. Data from the cue sheets tells us who should be paid.

Where there is no cue sheet available for a film, the box office performance figure for that film is carried forward until a cue sheet becomes available.

Key terms used in our Distribution Rules and Practices document

Songs:
The Copyright Act refers to compositions, musical scores in the form of sheet music, broadsheets or other notation as musical works. Lyrics or words to a song are considered literary works. When we refer to songs, we are referring to all the elements of a musical/literary work protected by copyright.

Cue sheet:
A cue sheet is a record of all songs used in a film and/or television production. APRA AMCOS is provided with cue sheets for all locally produced programs broadcast in Australia and New Zealand and this information is used to distribute royalties for the public performance of the song.

Direct Allocation:
Royalties are distributed via comprehensive reporting to ensure that all reported works (subject to any thresholds that may apply) share in the distribution of the corresponding licence fees).