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Copyright Agency | Viscopy is a not-for-profit organisation that provides licences to reuse copyright protected material.

Fees are distributed to our member creators: photographers, illustrators, visual artists and publishers, authors, journalists, poets, educators and surveyors.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this site may contain the names and images of people who have passed away.


Viscopy entered into a services arrangement with the Copyright Agency in July 2012. Through this strategic partnership, the Copyright Agency provides licensing and membership services to Viscopy members and customers.

Viscopy specialises in licensing artworks by visual artists for a range of uses such as catalogues and merchandise. Copyright Agency manages the education and government copying schemes and resale royalty scheme.


In 2014-15, Viscopy strengthened its partnership with the Copyright Agency across three key areas: strategic direction, operational efficiency and member engagement.

Total revenue increased by around 5%, with Viscopy's core business in commercial licensing sales increasing by 11 per cent from the previous year. The increase in revenue was matched by a growth in payments to artists, with nearly $1.8m distributed to our members, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.*

This is the strongest example of how the ongoing partnership agreement with the Copyright Agency is helping us deliver on what matters most: making it easy for licensing customers to access copyright materials they value and working efficiently to distribute member payments frequently and fairly.

Viscopy also continued to work closely with the Copyright Agency to better understand – and respond to – the challenges of supporting creators’ income in today’s digital environment. In 2014-15, we planned for how we improve service delivery across every point in our value chain and better position ourselves to be at the nexus where business meets creativity in future.

The most recent example of this is our important research initiative, Voice of the Artist. This research will be the first of its kind to more deeply assess the impact of the online environment on the rights of visual artists in Australia and New Zealand. The results will inform our work with visual artists in the future.

Throughout the year, we also built on a number of community initiatives that have proven to achieve results and enhance the ways we connect with our stakeholders. We launched a new website, revamped our e-newsletter Canvas and developed materials specifically to art centres.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist members represent 50 per cent of our total membership, we continued our education programs across remote regions in Australia to empower Indigenous artists with information about their rights.

Central to this has been information about the resale royalty scheme which, in June, marked its five-year anniversary.

The John Fries Award also experienced its strongest year yet with the highest number of entries received in its six-year history. More than 730 emerging and early career artists entered from all around Australia and New Zealand for the chance to closely collaborate with our new curator and develop works specifically for the exhibition. On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Ben Ward, who was our first West Australian, and first Aboriginal artist chosen by the judges to receive the $10,000 prize for his work, Our Country.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge the support and vision of Murray St Leger who led the Copyright Agency | Viscopy through 2014-15. Under Murray’s direction, management and staff worked diligently to put ideas into practice and improve our performance where it counts. I’d like to thank Murray for his astute management of the organisation and for championing the rights of visual artists. I look forward to working closely with the Copyright Agency’s new Chief Executive Adam Suckling to achieve another successful year where we continue to contribute real value to visual arts in Australia and New Zealand.

*Excluding a one-off payment to an international partner in 2013-14.




I write to you as the Copyright Agency | Viscopy’s new Chief Executive.

I joined the Copyright Agency | Viscopy in August this year and have been very impressed by the clever licensing solutions we offer to our customers. These solutions allow returns to our members, not least of which are those working in the visual arts space.

We are delivering benefits to artists in four ways: through our education copying schemes, through commercial licensing of their works, through Cultural Fund grants and through the Resale Royalty Scheme – which hit a five-year milestone this year.

Everyone has a stake in copyright. Pretty much all of us now create material; many of us put it on the internet. Lots of us would like people to ask our permission to use that material, and some of us particularly those who make their living from their creative work – would like payment to use our creative work.

So copyright is as critical as ever to the livelihoods of artists whose work is more readily reproduced these days. One case we have been involved with is that of Aboriginal artist Bibi Barba. When she discovered three years ago that two of her artworks from her Desert Flowers collection had been copied in carpet and furnishings in a Polish hotel, her first port of call was to Copyright Agency | Viscopy.

We made contact with the Polish designer to seek a licence for the use of Bibi’s art. When the designer denied she had infringed Bibi’s copyright, we referred Bibi to legal organisations to mount a case. Now, after several legal hurdles and quite a bit of persistence, Bibi’s fight is about to go to court in Poland. We’re continuing to work with Bibi in a number of ways to support her rights. We also commissioned a work from her to celebrate the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan earlier this year.

Aside from protection of their art, the provenance of an artist’s work is crucially important to prevent fraud and to track changes in the value of the work over time.

The Resale Royalty Scheme, which the Copyright Agency administers, provides an important new mechanism for tracking provenance as well as providing valuable income for artists and their families.

In this report, you can read about the scheme’s success to date. In the five years since it began, $3.4m in royalties have been generated fo artists.

You can also read about our direct support to artists and art projects through more than $330,000 in Cultural Fund grants in the last financial year.

This report covers the period that Murray St Leger was CEO and so the significant achievements outlined here are Murray’s and the rest of the team’s. I’d like to thank Murray for his significant contribution to our organisation.

There are many challenges ahead but also many opportunities to improve copyright for the benefit of everyone. I assure you we will continue to work diligently in the year ahead to ensure our copyright safety net for visual artists remains strong and flexible.




In 2014-15, our membership
grew by 931 to


Melinda Harper
Photo Bryan Sun.

Member growth over

past 5 years














  • Australia


  • NZ


  • Non-Indigenous


  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander


  • or 50% identify as Indigenous

Through our extensive network of international partners, we represent more than 40,000 foreign artists. These partnerships enable the works of Australian and New Zealand artists to be used in other countries and likewise enables the use of international artists’ work throughout Australia and New Zealand.

See International Partners




“Artists’ copyright is a meaningful way to ensure fairness and protection against exploitation.”

Read more about Ramesh

Ramesh Nithiyendran. Photo Bryan Sun.


Overall licensing revenue in 2014-15 is higher than the prior year by 5%, with commercial licensing

up 11%



Licensing revenue




Total revenue ($ approx)


Payment to artists

Copyright Agency | Viscopy paid nearly


in copyright licence fees paid to

1,492 members



Under the education copying licences,
the Copyright Agency paid an additional


for artistic works



The resale royalty scheme paid more than

$695,000 to

336 artists

Copyright Agency | Viscopy Fees

Copyright Agency | Viscopy’s
administration fees range from

10% to 25%

depending upon the type of royalty collected.


These fees cover the costs of collecting royalties and managing services to members.

See more about Viscopy’s fees


Partnership with the Copyright Agency means that operational costs are shared. As a not-for-profit agency, we endeavour to keep our costs low for members.

See more about Copyright Agency’s operating costs


Viscopy’s core business in commercial licensing sales increasing by


Here are some highlights.


Pop to popism banners hang from the Art Gallery of New South Wales featuring Martin Sharp, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol artworks licensed by Viscopy. Photo: AGNSW.

Pop to popism

We licensed some of the biggest names in pop art from Australia and around the world for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ 2015 summer exhibition.

Read more

Kirrikin cashmere scarf featuring Anna Price Pitjara’s Yam Seeds Anna Price Pitjara/Licensed by Viscopy Image courtesy of Kirrikin.

Luxury accessories range by Kirrikin

We worked closely with a new Indigenous business, Kirrikin, to guide them through best practice licensing for a range of high-end luxury accessories featuring the work of contemporary artists Anna Price Pitjara, Walala Tjapaltjarri and Kerry Madawyn McCarthy.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Untitled, on Mossgreen’s auction catalogue Emily Kame Kngwarreye/Licensed by Viscopy; Henri Matisse, Forms, on AGNSW ‘Look’ magazine Succession H. Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy;  Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Mrs Gabori), Dibirdibi Country,on ‘Gabori: The Sally Gabori Collection of Patrick Corrigan’ Mrs Gabori/Licensed by Viscopy.

Fine art in publishing

Viscopy artists were showcased on the covers of a range of publications in 2014/15 including Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Untitled for Mossgreen’s Australian ‘Indigenous and Oceanic Art Auction’ catalogue and Henri Matisse’s Forms on the cover of the Art Gallery of NSW’s members magazine, ‘Look’, while ‘Gabori: The Sally Gabori Collection of Patrick Corrigan’ featured the artist’s bold and powerful Dibirdibi Country on its wrap around cover.

Read our tribute to Mrs Gabori

Indigenous art in Reconciliation Action Plans

Viscopy licensed artworks by a number of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist members for Reconciliation Action Plans developed by Murdoch University, Shell, the Law Society Northern Territory, CRANA Plus, as well as the Copyright Agency I Viscopy’s own Reconciliation Action Plan which was launched in Sydney during Reconciliation Week in May.

Read more

Murdoch University Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2018 featuring an artwork by Mawukura Jimmy Nerimah titled Jilas in my Country, 2009 on cover. Purchased by Murdoch University Art Collection 2013.

Copyright Agency | Viscopy's Reconciliation Action Plan outlines our vision for reconciliation and the targets and measures we have committed to. It was designed by Gaawaa Miyay and the cover features artwork by our member Helicopter Tjungarrayi, courtesy of Warlayirti Artists.

Helicopter Tjungarrayi, Tjurrnu Helicopter Tjungarrayi/Licensed by Viscopy.


The Resale Royalty Right recognises visual artists' ongoing rights in their art and provides income when eligible works are resold.

Artists may earn


on eligible resales over $1000. Art dealers and auction houses record their sales and report them to the Copyright Agency, who has been appointed by the Australian Government to manage the resale royalty scheme.


June 2015
marked the fifth
year of the resale
royalty scheme


in royalties was generated for artists at this time, an increase of


from the previous year

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists represent


of the artists receiving royalties


of resale royalty recipients live in the Northern Territory and central Australia

Five year overview

Cumulative results since the start of the scheme:


Royalties generated ($)












Number of visual artists with eligible1 resales














“The resale royalty right is doing something right for Aboriginal artists – and all artists. It's powerful recognition of the value of our work, it's bringing better accountability in the marketplace – and it makes me feel proud that this country has done this for artists.”

A royalty is payable on a resale if:

  • the seller was not the owner of the work on 9 June 2010
  • the sale price (including GST) was $1,000 or more
  • the artist is Australian
  • if the artist has died:
    • it was less than 70 years ago; and
    • there is a beneficiary or estate with a connection to Australia.


Our Indigenous Engagement Manager worked collaboratively with our artist members, art centres and with the broader Indigenous community in urban, rural and remote locations.

Read case study

Workshop participants on Mornington Island learn about how copyright and the resale royalty scheme can help them earn money from their artwork.


We reached more than


through 18 information sessions and workshops across six states and territories

Our Indigenous Engagement Manager also spoke at the Fiji Culture Industries workshop on intellectual property and protection of cultural heritage

Our education program and resources emphasise creators’ rights. We share knowledge about licensing (statutory and commercial), the Resale Royalty Right, copyright and, the usefulness of having a will

Number of communities we’ve visited

2015Since 2012




“It is so much easier to rip off someone’s work these days. Part of my fight is about getting back what I think is fair but I also want to show others that artists can stand up for their rights. The Copyright Agency | Viscopy has been there with me every step of the way. I can’t thank them enough.”

Follow Bibi’s fight

Bibi Barba. Photo Bryan Sun.


Copyright Agency | Viscopy allocates up to


of our income to cultural development projects through the Cultural Fund and Career Fund.


In 2014-15


was committed to support 71 creative projects, 66 Career Fund grants (to individuals) and 7 fellowships.

Of this


was provided for 16 visual arts projects, and $56,120 was granted to 27 artists through the Career Fund.

That’s more than


to support visual artists over the past 5 years.

Qiu Zhijie with 4A Curators' Intensive participants at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art developed and delivered its second Curators’ Intensive program in 2014, with support from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

The centre invited three prominent Asia-Pacific contemporary art curators to lead a professional development program for 10 Australian participants.

Read case study


More than


emerging artists entered the John Fries Award this year, the highest number ever received in its six-year history.


Ben Ward at work on his winning finalist piece, Our Country, for the John Fries Award 2015.
Photo courtesy Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Centre.

Ben Ward

was the first Aboriginal artist, and the first Western Australian, to take out the $10,000 prize for his painting Our Country.

One of the highly commended entries from New Zealand Artist Kenneth Merrick.
Foible, 2015 Kenneth Merrick/Licensed by Viscopy.

New Zealand artist Kenneth Merrick was highly commended for his painting, Foible. The number of artists entering from New Zealand also grew by


from last year.

Curator Oliver Watts at UNSW Galleries. Photo: Tim Levy.

Some of the most highly-regarded professionals in contemporary arts were on the John Fries Award panel of judges, including New Zealand-born curator and acclaimed arts writer, Justin Paton and exciting cross-disciplinary artist, Nell. Oliver Watts was this year’s guest curator.

The crowd at the opening night of the John Fries Award 2015. Photo: Tim Levy.

For the first time this year, finalists received an artist fee at NAVA-recommended rates. Finalists outside NSW were also assisted with freight costs.

Benefactor Vivienne Fries presenting the highly commended award to Kenneth Merrick. Photo: Tim Levy.

The award’s


prize money has been donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy.

If you have any questions,
comments or feedback, please
contact us at

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