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How does the Authors Registry work for authors?

The function of the Authors Registry is to act as a clearinghouse or payment agent for organizations wishing to distribute payments to individual U.S.-resident authors. Based on its agreements with the organizations, the Registry receives lump-sum payments and distribution data from (usually foreign) payers. The Registry's job is to get the payments to the individual authors for whom they're designated. This involves locating the author-payees (if they're not already in our database), creating an account for each one (this involves some minimal paperwork), and sending out checks. We also keep the records necessary for required reporting to the IRS (although we don't withhold taxes).

For what kinds of uses of my works might the Authors Registry receive payment?

Payments are typically for photocopying and other similar uses of copyrighted works, carried out under national blanket licensing systems, and collected by local authors' rights organizations.

Will the Authors Registry distribute royalties to me from my publisher?

No. The Registry does not deal with publishers' royalties. We will contact you if we receive payment for you from one of the organizations with whom we're working.

How will an author be contacted by the Authors Registry?

We send out both postal mailings and e-mailings to authors for whom we've received payment. We give a brief account of where the payment comes from, what work or works it's for (when possible), and how much it amounts to. We also include the paperwork necessary for us to set up an account for the author.

What paperwork is an author required to complete?

The necessary paperwork includes a W-9 form, which is the IRS request for the payee's Social Security number. We are required to report any payment we make in excess of $10, and must use the payee's Social Security number for this reporting. Also included is our Collection Authorization form, which collects the author's contact information and authorizes us to retain an administrative fee of 10%. If you've received notification from us of royalties held for you, you may download the signup documents below:

Download W-9 (84.4 KB)

Can the Registry send payments to me by ACH / direct deposit?


The Registry hopes to implement ACH / direct deposit in 2022. We will contact all payees when the program is ready.

What does an author pay for the Registry's services?

The Authors Registry retains a 10% administrative fee from all payments we distribute.

I've submitted the paperwork. When will I receive payment?

Checks are sent out in batches, on a schedule determined by a number of variables. Generally, you should receive payment within a few weeks of returning the paperwork.

Will I receive more payments in the future? Will I need to fill out more forms?

The majority of authors who receive payment through the Authors Registry do receive further payments in the future. However, we are unable to predict with certainty when, or whether, a given author will receive another payment. Once you have submitted the required forms, we will not request any further paperwork. Future payments will be sent automatically as we receive them.

Does the Authors Registry need a list of my works? Does the Registry represent my rights?

No and no. Since the Authors Registry functions purely as a clearinghouse, it does not calculate or generate any payments on its own. We merely receive payments and pass them along. We do not represent the rights of our author members.

For further information on enrolling with the Registry, please contact Terry King at (212) 563-6920 or by e-mail at staff@authorsregistry.org.