You may remember that at the start of the year I posted about the upcoming changes at DACS and ALCS regarding the way we can claim secondary rights for any images used in our work.
For those who don’t know, when our work is published it becomes available for photocopying. The Copyright Licensing Agency collects money from various sources (organisations such as schools, universities, public sector organisations, etc), and they redistribute that money to writers and illustrators, via a couple of distribution agencies. To receive a share of the cash you need to be a member of the relevant distribution agencies: ALCS and DACS. (I should point out that it’s not just photocopying money that is redistributed by these organisations, but it’s one of main sources of their income.)
Historically, if you’ve had words published then you registered your published article with ALCS and claimed from them. And if you’ve had photographs published then you registered and claimed for them via DACS. Therefore, if you had a travel article published in a magazine, and a few of your photos (photos that you took on your camera) were used to illustrate the article, then you were entitled to make claims to both ALCS and DACS (ALCS for the words in your article and DACS for the photos accompanying your article.)
This year changes are taking place, which will make claiming much easier for some of you. It seems that following a review in 2015, the CLA increased the proportion of the photocopying pot of money that went to visual artists (ie, photographers).
Reading between the lines (and please remember, I’m still One-Working-Eye Whaley undergoing treatment for the retina problems in my left eye … so not everything is as clear as it could be), there was some ‘discussion’ between several of these distribution agencies about how, and who, was best placed to distribute this dosh to visual artists. It must have been a heated discussion for what we’re dealing with now is the result of mediation.
If you are a member of DACS, then you can’t use the ALCS service (which makes sense, because they don’t want you claiming twice!). You should continue to claim your share of the pot for illustrations via DACS.
However, if you’ve never claimed for photos before, and you think you might be eligible, then you might want to consider making your claim via ALCS. Remember, with ALCS you can only claim for photographic uses in magazines in books. If your photos may have appeared elsewhere (such as on television), then you should consider claiming via DACS.
Both ALCS and DACS are accepting claims for images published before 31st December 2016. If claiming via ALCS you need to do this by 10th February 2017. If you’re claiming via DACS then your ‘traditional’ claim needs to be submitted by 1st May 2017.
If you’ve claimed via DACS before you’ll see they’re now starting to collect more detailed data than they have in the past. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. This is a requirement following the mediation between all of the agencies.
What information do they want? ISSN of magazine, magazine title and the number of times your photos have appeared in each publication. Optionally, you can also include a description of the image used.
This detailed claim needs to be submitted by 17th February 2017, (so before your usual DACS claim, but there’s nothing stopping you submitting both before this date).
Over time, DACS wants to collect a lot more of this historical detail, so to encourage you to do this, 10% of this year's distribution pot will be set aside and dished out only to those who provide this extra detail. This percentage will increase over the next few years, for those who include this extra information in their claims, until 2021.
So, when will you receive your royalties? Hopefully, before the end of the year.
If you’d like to know more about why this has all happened, and what might happen in the future, then check out the FAQ page on the DACS website. (But you might want to put a towel over your head and go into a darkened room before hand.)
How this will affect claims is yet to be seen. But it’s clear, if you have this information to hand then make your claim so you share in the extra 10% pot. And if you don’t, then start collecting this information now for future claims.