Membership and Membership Contract
Creators from the professional groups direction, camera, film editing, costume design, stage design as well performing artists in the audiovisual fiels can become beneficiaries of VdFS. To become a member, it is necessary to conclude a Membership Contract. In addition, VdFS also requires a filmography of the filmmaker to start working for him or her.
By entering into the Membership Contract, the beneficiaries of VdFS grant their rights and remuneration claims to VdFS to manage fiduciary and they provide instructions for collection to VdFS. VdFS cannot work for the filmmaker without a collection agreement.
The collection agreement with VdFS constitutes the basis, also for the management of secondary exploitation rights abroad, which is ensured by concluding reciprocal agreements with affiliated companies.
The granting of rights applies to each area, in which rights management by a collecting society is required according to domestic or foreign law, or where it is handled in practice.
Who can become a member?
Creators from the professional groups direction, camera, film editing, costume design, stage design as well as performing artists in the audiovisual field. Legal successors (heirs) of those in the aforementioned professional groups can also become members.
How do I become a member?
To become a member, the conclusion of collection agreement is required. In addition, a complete filmography of the filmmaker is required.
How much does the membership cost?
VdFS membership is free of charge. There are neither one-off nor regular fees.
How is VdFS financed?
VdFS is not profit-oriented. Like all collecting societies, VdFS receives its payment for its activities from deductions from the copyright remunerations distributed to the beneficiaries within Austria, as do all collecting societies. Income from abroad is transferred without fees directly to the beneficiaries.
What can VdFS offer me?
VdFS exercises the copyrights of filmmakers and the neighbouring rights of performing artists in the audiovisual field and distributes the royalties due from cable and blank tape levy as well as other copyright claims to filmmakers and actors. VdFS uses reciprocal agreements with numerous foreign affiliated companies to ensure the exercise of the rights of VdFS beneficiaries abroad.
Besides the main responsibilities of collecting and distributing revenues, VdFS also performs social and cultural tasks (promotion of Austrian filmmaking, living cost grants for beneficiaries in need, support for training and further education, etc.).
Members are also offered free legal consultation or tax advice of up to 2000 Euros per year.
What criteria are used to distribute royalties?
The distribution of royalties occurs separately for filmmakers and actors.
The calculation is made using various parameters such as the type of work, the broadcaster or broadcast time. Corresponding calculation factors have been set down for different types of work. Likewise, factors are set down for broadcast factors for television broadcasters, depending on the degree of dissemination and the reception potential of these programmes. Further, the time the transmission during the day and night also affects the calculation of royalties.
Payment is based on the length of the works in full minutes, although works under 10 minutes are not remunerated by VdFS.
You can see the current conditions of distribution by clicking on the following link.
When do I receive my royalties?
The calculation of royalties is done every autumn for the broadcast dates of the previous year. Broadcasts in earlier years (retroactive to three broadcast years) are paid in the course of subsequent settlements.
Royalty payments from foreign affiliated societies are send to the recipients several times a year without deduction of any fees.
Can I be a member of several collecting societies?
VdFS can also exercise the rights of its beneficiaries abroad, which means the collection agreement usually includes global rights management. In this case, membership in other foreign collecting societies is not possible, as long as these exercise the same rights.
Beneficiaries can, however, exclude individual countries from rights management or limit rights management only to Austria. In this case, regional memberships in foreign affiliated societies are possible.
Global rights management simply makes the most sense for a filmmaker or performing artists in the audiovisual field, because in that case, the works or contributions only have to be registered once. In the case of national memberships in several collecting societies, a work must be registered with all of the societies, which is significantly more work for the filmmaker or actor. Another advantage of global rights management is that VdFS transfers foreign royalties to the beneficiaries without deducting any fees.
For example, a director who also works as a screenwriter or film producer can also be a member of Literar Mechana and/or VAM, because these societies represent different beneficiaries (screenwriters, film producers) than VdFS.
Can royalty claims be inherited?
Not only the artists themselves, but also their legal successors (after their death) can submit rights to VdFS and receive royalties. Works and services/performances are protected for the duration of the protection periods set out in the Copyright Act: films are compensated for 70 years after the death of the last living creator (screenwriter, director, dialogue, film music). Acting performances are compensated for 50 years after the release (premiere performance) of the film.
Work broadcast registration and changes to the master data
How can I register new works and contributions?
Registration of works and contributions is the most important basis for calculating royalties. VdFS assesses TV programmes independently but also relies on the registrations of its members for the sake of completion.
New works and contributions should therefore be registered regularly. Simply use the work / broadcast registration forms for authors and actors available here. Registration of works can also be done by email, post of fax.
Work broadcast registration for authors
The work broadcast registration serves to identify the claims of the filmmaker.
VdFS includes the following types of works for creators: cinema / television films, series, documentaries / TV report contributions / reports, sitcoms / comedies, soaps / telenovelas, documentary-style soaps and series as well as TV events.
According to the conditions of distribution of VdFS, news, advertisements, sport broadcasts, cartoons / animation, tv shows, cooking shows, talk shows, readings, music broadcasts, live broadcasts or recordings of stage plays in front of an audience, reality TV shows, school and educational television and infotainment are not accounted for. Further information can be found in the conditions of distribution.
Works of at least 10 minutes in length are remunerated.
New works should be registered on a regular basis.
Work broadcast registration for performing artists in the audiovisual field
The work broadcast registration serves to identify the claims of the actors.
VdFS includes the following types of works for actors: Cinema / TV films, television films as series and fictional series.
According to the distribution conditions of VdFS, advertisements, music clips, recordings of stage productions in front of an audience, interviews, hosting and infotainment are not accounted for. Further information can be found in the conditions of distribution.
Works of at least 10 minutes in length are remunerated.
New works should be registered on a regular basis.
Changes to the master data
We ask you to tell us immediately about any change of address and/or bank account or to update these things yourself in MyVdFS.
Social and cultural institutions (SKE)
VdFS dedicates a not insignificant portion of its income to social and cultural purposes (SKE) on the basis of legal regulations and voluntary deductions.
With these funds, we can finance social aid such as living cost grants for members in need, old age allowances for cooperative members and support for legal and tax advise.
In the area of culture, we can support festivals, events and special cultural projects. Moreover, measures for training and further education and contributions to the financing of professional associations of filmmakers and other film-related organisations can be provided.
In the following, we have summarised the most important questions and answers. For any other questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is the SKE fund financed?
Since VdFS asserts claims on „blank tape levy“ pursuant to Section 42b (1) UrhG (Austrian Copyright Act), it is obligated to create institutions serving social and cultural purposes (SKE) for their beneficiaries and allocate 50% of the total revenue from these payments less the administrative costs to these institutions, pursuant to Section 33 VerwGesG 2016 (Collecting Societies Act 2016). Moreover, 10% of other domestic VdFS income from licencing is reserved for the SKE in the context of a united, voluntary deduction.
Who can submit an application for social support (living cost grant / training and further education / legal and tax advice)?
Eligibility is limited to physical persons who concluded a collection agreement with VdFS at least one year before the application.
Furthermore, the applicant shall present proof of at least 3 works, which are registered with VdFS and which can be offset within the meaning of point 5 e) of the distribution conditions. This number shall increase to at least 5 registered and offsettable works by the applicant after 10 years of membership.
The Board of Directors may ignore the one-year period and/or the minimum number of registered works and works that can be offset, by a unanimous resolution if this seems advisable on the basis of extreme hardship in an individual case.
Who can apply for social assistance (living cost grant/training and further education/legal and tax advice)?
Eligible for applications pursuant to Point 4.1. (one-off support payments to beneficiaries in difficulties), 4.3. (Grants for legal costs and tax advice) and 5.3.4. (Training and further education) are physical persons, who concluded a membership contract with VdFS at least one year before the application.
Furthermore, the applicant shall present proof of at least three works, which are registered with VdFS and which can be offset within the meaning of point II.6.) of the distribution conditions. This number shall increase to at least 5 registered works and works that can be offset after 10 years of membership.
The Board of Directors may ignore the one-year period and/or the minimum number of registered works and works that can be offset, by a unanimous resolution if this seems appropriate on the basis of extreme hardship in an individual case or on the basis of the significance of a sample procedure for the entirety of the beneficiaries.
What are the requirements for a living cost grant?
The condition for the grant of a one-off payment per calendar year to provide support in case of hardship or extraordinary burdens is that due to these emergencies or burdens, the applicant’s economic livelihood is compromised at the time the application is submitted.
Furthermore, income may not exceed two and a half times the amount of the standard rate of the equalisation supplement pursuant to Section 293 (1) of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act (12x annually) during the calendar year in which the support funds were utilised (EUR 37,050.00). If the applicant must pay alimony or child support, this limit shall be increased by EUR 7,900.00 (support per child) or EUR 15,960.00 (support for the partner) per calendar year (standard values 2020).
Must a living cost grant be repaid?
If the income limits listed in the “Requirements” are exceeded during the calendar year in which the support funds were utilised, the living cost grant must be repaid in full. The audit shall take place retrospectively, based on the legally valid income tax assessment notice for the calendar year in question. Please read the conditions under point 4.1.2. in the guidelines.
How are the terms “hardship” and “extraordinary burdens” defined by VdFS?
A situation is considered “hardship” when the applicant cannot afford daily costs of living within his or her own means or when fixed monthly costs exceed the monthly income over a longer period of time.
Physical handicaps, medical treatment, need for care, occupational disability, funeral costs and similar expenses are considered examples of “extraordinary burdens”. The purchase and renovation of necessary household items can be subsidised.
A complete list can be found under point 4.1.4. of the guidelines.
What is the amount of the living cost grant?
The amount of the one-time grant is determined individually for each case. It is up to a maximum of EUR 4,500.00 per calendar year.
How can I apply for a living cost grant?
An application must be submitted describing and documenting the hardship or extraordinary burden.
All applications will of course be handled confidentially.
When can an application for a living cost grant be submitted?
Applications can be sent any time. All applications received by a deadline will be submitted and processed in quarterly meetings. The respective deadlines will be published on this website and in our newsletter, and we can provide them any time on request.
Can I also apply to KSVF for support services?
The Künstler-Sozialversicherungsfonds (Artists' Social Insurance Fund) also grants aid to support particularly urgent cases, normally in the form of a one-off payment or, in special cases, as a recurring cash payment. Artists whose main residence is in Austria may apply for support at any time for the monthly meetings of the Advisory Board. Detailed information on applying to the KSVF can be found in the KSVF Guidelines.
How do I submit an application for a grant for training or further education?
Eligible for funding:
Please send a request prior to the planned training or course (letter, description of the training) and include a cost estimate.
Please note that training and further education must be related to your professional activities as a filmmaker or actor.
Once the training measure has been attended, VdFS must be provided with a statement of account and the original receipts in the amount of the grant awarded. A payment of the subsidies for training and further education measures will only be made after these documents have been submitted.
Further information can be found under point 5.3.4. of the guidelines.
What is the VdFS young talent promotion?
The SKE funds may also be used to award grants for the promotion of young film talents. Persons who are not yet members of VdFS can make use of these funds. This support is limited to filmmakers or performers in the audiovisual field up to the age of 40 years who belong to a professional group represented by VdFS.
How can I submit an application for a legal cost grant?
Before the legal or tax consultation, please send a letter, fax or email (to email@example.com) and explain why you are applying for this grant.
Please note that this must be in connection with your professional activities as a filmmaker or actor and must be proved. A grant of up to EUR 2.000.00 per year (excluding VAT) can be given once per calendar year.
Who can apply for an old age allowance from VdFS and what criteria apply?
Each ordinary member (cooperative member) of VdFS can receive a monthly old age allowance after the legal pension age has been reached and on the condition that an annual income limit is not exceeded. The beneficiary must also already have been an ordinary member (cooperative member) of VdFS for at least 5 years. Details are available under point 4.2. of the SKE guidelines.
What are payments serving cultural purposes?
In addition to social grants mainly supported by SKE funds, festivals, events and special cultural projects, organisations, associations and similar groups, which serve to promote economic, social and artistic interests, can also be supported.
What should be considered when submitting an application for support of festivals, events and special cultural projects?
The following must be included in the application: a complete calculation and financing plan, including a list of other institutions where an application for support has been made and/or approved.
After the festival or event or at the end of a project, we ask that an account of the actual costs be submitted. Original invoices in the amount of the grant given by VdFS should be submitted, which will be verified by VdFS and returned. An evaluation of the festival or event (number of guests, press reviews, etc.) shall be enclosed with the account.
Deadlines for submitting applications for funding for festivals and events are March 31th and September 30th of each calendar year.
Further information on cultural institutions can be found under point 5 of the guidelines.
Who takes decisions on applications?
All applications will be submitted to the SKE committee and the Board of Directors of VdFS, following a formal preliminary examination by VdFS office team. The Supervisory Board of VdFS must confirm these decisions.
All information will of course be handled strictly confidentially.
When will I be informed of the decision?
All applicants will be informed in writing after the respective meeting of the Supervisory Board. If an application is rejected, a reason will be given for the rejection.
Information on tax
To enable payment of royalties, Members, whose tax residence is not in Austria, must provide VdFS with a residence certificate confirmed by the tax office in the place of residence. Further information and the relevant form can be found here.