Monday, 4 July 2016

It's Payback Time!

It’s that time again to get in your claim under the DACS Payback scheme. If you don’t know what it is, don’t panic, because you have until 30th September to make your claim.

What is DACS?

DACS is the Design and Artists Copyright Service. It champions the rights of all visual artists (such as photographer, painters, sculptors, etc), and also collects and distributes money from secondary rights (such as photocopying, artists’ resale rights, and copyright licensing). Think of DACS as the picture version of ALCS - the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (which does the same for writers, but for words).

What Is Payback?
Payback is the name of the scheme whereby artists can claim their share of the money generated by secondary rights that DACS has collected on artists’ behalf. The system DACS uses is that artists have to complete a claim form every year. If you’ve claimed in previous years you should be able to log on to their system and your previous claim information will be there. All you have to do is go through it and update anything.

What’s This Got To Do With Writers?
Whereas ALCS is all about the words, DACS is only interested in visual arts. However, if you’ve written an article or a book, which has been published anytime up to and including the 31st December 2015, and your article or book included some of your own photos (photos that you took on your own camera or smartphone), then that makes you a photographer too - or, as far as DACS is concerned, a visual artist. If your photos have been published then you are eligible to claim.

Any photo you took, which was published in magazine or a book, can be included in your claim. It might not even have accompanied an article. Perhaps you had a photo published on a letters page. If a photo was published before 31st December 2015 you can claim. And you should.

Good luck. 


  1. I'm struggling to see anything saying that you can't claim for pictures printed in self-published print books. I FEEL they shouldn't be eligible, but I'm not sure. Thoughts?

    1. Interesting thought, Susie. However, just like ALCS, it doesn't mean someone HAS photocopied your work, merely that it IS available for photocopying. As far as I'm aware, to be eligible, your book would need an ISBN. It doesn't matter what type of ISBN (the ones dished out free by Smashwords or Createspace, would be valid). If you've self-published a book (and it has an ISBN) then, technically, it is available for photocopying.

      I don't know where DACS stands with eBooks though.

      If you want to be certain, the best thing to do would be to drop them an email to check. They're really helpful.

    2. I'll try that. Thanks Simon. Ebooks are forbidden. It says on the FAQs, but self-pub not mentioned.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thanks for the detailed info, Simon. I knew they existed, but didn't realise that a photo on a letters page could count. I'm sure there are quite a few writers who would qualify that way.

  4. Yes, it's every published photo, so even letter page contributions count!