Author Copyright Licencing: Are You Registered? | Resources | Essential Guides | Make Money From Writing | Rights Royalties Contracts | Writers’ Tips

Whether you are based in Ireland or the UK, register with the relevant agency to ensure that you are paid for secondary use of your published work.

Since 1977, the UK based Author Licensing Copyright Society has paid out over £570M to all types of writers and visual artists for the secondary uses of their works. As an organisation, their job is make sure you receive the money you’re entitled to as a writer when someone copies or uses your work. They collect money from all over the world, then pay it to their UK members. In Ireland, the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency,  ILCA, fulfills a similar roles and has 3,500 author members and 650 publishers who have given  permission for them to support them in securing credit and revenue for their works. They work with creators directly or, in the case of some Irish authors, through the Irish Writers Union and the Writers Guild of Ireland.

The Irish Copyright Licensing Agency also have reciprocal agreements with reproduction rights organisations (RROs) across the world. Through these agreements, Irish rightsholders can be represented by foreign RROs in these countries and receive payment for use of their works abroad. This also allows Irish licensees to gain access to a wide repertoire of international works. ICLA, are active members of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), the main international network of collective management organisations for text and image. They do not provide legal advice – only general information on copyright issues. If you require legal advice on copyright, you should seek the services of a legal professional. Find out more and register here. ILCA also have detailed information on copyright, which is often a concern for authors, here.

In the UK, ALCS is a not-for-profit organisation, with over 113,000 members, open to all types of writer, and owned by their members. The money collected is for ‘secondary uses’ of work – such as photocopies, cable retransmission, digital reproduction and educational recording. These sorts of rights typically bring in small amounts of money that are difficult for writers to monitor individually, so the most effective way to gather them is collectively. It takes tireless investigation, as well as experience and expertise. But nowadays, with the help of bespoke IT systems, ALCS can collect money from all over the world through agreements with over 55 different societies in more than 40 countries.

They also campaign and lobby on matters important to writers – both at a national and international level – to ensure writers’ rights are recognised and rewarded. Nobody else in the world does exactly what they do, though we’re often compared to other organisations. They say: “For many members, we’re a mysterious organisation that sends them a payment every so often. Some even find us secretive. Yet for others, the reality of where the money comes from is possibly too detailed. There are even potential members who think we’re a scam — until their first payment arrives. We measure our worth by the amount of money we’ve collected and paid to writers and by the number who join us – as well as by our successes in lobbying and educating about copyright.”

ALCS is just £36 to join for lifetime membership, and free if you are already a member of a partner organisation like the Society of Authors – info here: Join now and submit you titles – if you’ve written an article in the past three years for a UK magazine or journal, the deadline for claims for this year is 30 NOVEMBER 2021. Tell them about your most recent magazine and journal articles to ensure you receive a payment for them.  Payments for articles are made as part of the ALCS March distributions.

Key points of the scheme:

  • Articles must have been written since January 2018
  • Articles must have been published in a UK magazine or journal
  • Publications must have a valid ISSN
  • Article information must be manually added by you through the members’ area. If you don’t tell us about your articles, you won’t receive any income.

Have you also contributed a picture or an illustration to a publication?

Don’t forget that if you have also contributed visually (a photo, illustration or diagram) to a publication then you can also claim for those when registering your written contributions. You can find out more information in the Visual Contribution Guidelines.

Check out the ILCA and ALCS and register now to ensure you are paid for reproduction rights.

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