Audiovisual content remuneration

The issue

UK scriptwriters create films and TV shows which span the world generating significant economic value and enhancing our international soft power. Yet research on remuneration and working conditions identifies increasingly challenging conditions both for experienced and new writers.


Structural policy like tax breaks has made the UK an attractive destination for production but this does not directly address the deficit in value distribution facing creators. TV and film content is now distributed and consumed in a variety of different ways, yet we currently lack the necessary mechanisms to ensure that writers receive their fair share of the resulting revenues.

What can be done?

We urge the Government to implement the recommendations of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and support the introduction of the Smart Fund which provides a simple mechanism enabling scriptwriters and other creators to share in the huge value their content brings to the mobile device market.


User uploads of TV and film content have made sites such as YouTube enormously valuable to users and advertisers, yet the resulting revenues are not shared with scriptwriters or other creators. Recently international copyright laws have adapted to recognise creators’ right to receive an appropriate and proportionate share from online uses of their works. To safeguard our world-leading content and avoid falling behind, the Government should urgently investigate the adoption of comparable measures.


In recent years streaming has captured huge markets in the UK and internationally, however, typically scriptwriters’ agreements buy-out rights for extended periods and for all territories. Policy support for measures minimising the application of buy-outs and providing for appropriate and proportionate remuneration, through royalties and residuals, would enable writers to genuinely share in the value generated by their work over time and across territories.