Thursday, 26 March 2009

Are You A Member of ALCS?

Succeeding in the world of freelancing means making the most of all income streams. One such source of money is photocopying income.

If you've had an article published in a magazine (not a newspaper), then the ALCS (Author's Licensing and Collecting Society) may be of interest to you. The Copyright Licensing Authority collect payments from large institutions like Universities and Colleges, and Government Departments and industry for 'photocopying' usage. What this means is that these organisations pay a fee to legally photocopy articles published in magazines. This is then handed over to the ALCS.

The ALCS then distributes that money amongst the writers who are registered with them and have given them details of the articles they've had published. Let's be quite clear here, the ALCS do not pay writers because an article of theirs has definitely been photocopied - but writers can make a claim because their work is available for photocopying.

In order to claim you need to be a member of the ALCS and then provide them with the following information:

  • The ISSN of the magazine or journal. This is usually an 8 digit number printed somewhere on the magazine's contacts page and appears like so: 1234-5678. Sometimes it is incorporated into the front cover of the publication.
  • The date of the publication (the issue cover date)
  • The title pf the publication
  • The title of the article
  • The word count of your article
  • The names of any co-authors.
The ALCS is currently including information for articles published from January 2006 onwards, so if you've had pieces published in the past, you can use them on the next claim.

Money is distributed usually in March and I've just banked my payment, thank you very much. It all helps to keep up afloat!

For more information about the ALCS and membership (there is a membership fee of £25 but this is deducted from your first distribution payment), visit their website at

The payments that ALCS make vary from year to year because it all depends upon how many claimants there are, and how much money ALCS receive from the Copyright Licensing Authority. There was one year when the number of articles included in my claim had doubles, yet my payment was lower than the previous year. But being paid twice for the same article is nice, no matter how much it is. For the sake of filling out a short form to record each published article, it can be a useful income source, just before the end of the current tax year.

Good luck.

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