A fee accounting mechanism for reporting fees associated with the distribution and use of digital works. Usage rights and fees are attached to digital works. The usage rights define how the digital work may be used or further distributed. Usage fees are specified as part of a usage right. The digital works and their usage rights and fees are stored in repositories. The repositories control access to the digital works. Upon determination that the exercise of a usage right requires a fee, the repository generates a fee reporting transaction. Fee reporting is done to a credit server. The credit server collects the fee information and periodically transmits it to a billing clearinghouse.