UNDERSTANDING COMPETING CLAIMS
What is a competing claim?
A competing claim happens when two or more members submit registrations to Screenrights for exactly the same title and the claims overlap in some way. This means that the members are asserting the same rights and claiming the same royalties.
When there is a competing claim it is unclear to Screenrights who is entitled to royalties for the title, so we ask our members to resolve the competing claim by reviewing their own claims and speaking with each other.
There are a number of ways competing claims can overlap
Completely overlapping claims
Sometimes the other member may be claiming exactly the same royalties as you.
Overlapping percentage claims
Sometimes you may be claiming a percentage of the royalties and the other member may be claiming a percentage of the royalties too – but the total claims by the parties add up to more than 100% of the royalties.
Overlapping rights periods
Sometimes you may be claiming royalties for a limited period of time, but there is an overlap between the rights period that you are claiming and the rights period that the other member is claiming.
Partially overlapping claims
Sometimes the competing claim is for a specific royalty (eg. educational copying, retransmission, etc), type of right (film, script, etc) or territory (Australia, New Zealand).
Informal Approaches to Resolution by the Parties
Get started here. We recommend some simple, practical steps to resolving your competing claim.
We find the fastest way to resolve a competing claim is to pick up the phone and have a chat. It might be that the competing claim has been made unintentionally and a quick call to clarify is all that it takes to reach a resolution. Ask the other party to check that their registration reflects their contractual position and explain the basis of your entitlement to the royalties.
Informal approaches to resolving competing claims have proven to be very effective and inexpensive.
Some things to be mindful of…
A competing claim is resolved only when registrations change
A competing claim arises when two or more registrations to royalties overlap. Therefore a competing claim will only appear as resolved if the registrations no longer overlap.
If you need to update your registration to reflect your contractual position we ask that you do so as quickly as possible on MyScreenrights.
If the other party needs to update their registration to reflect their contractual position the competing claim will appear as resolved once they have done so.
Be mindful of deadlines
Royalties are available for distribution for a limited time only (6 years from first availability). Sometimes a competing claim will concern royalties that will expire soon – we call these ‘deadline royalties’.
Competing claims with deadline royalties are clearly marked on MyScreenrights and are searchable. We recommend prioritising the resolution of these competing claims to avoid missing out on royalties.
Be mindful of any royalties already paid to you
Sometimes a competing claim involves royalties that have been paid in part or paid in full to you already. This happens when a second, competing registration is submitted after you have already been paid, and the royalties are from distribution pools that are still open.
You can see whether royalties have already been paid to you on MyScreenrights.
It is important to note that if the competing claim is resolved in favour of the other party you may be required to return any previously paid royalties to Screenrights.
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