Earn your Dues and Safeguard your Intellectual Property

Most NUJ members have at one time or another had the unpleasant experience of seeing their work plagiarised, followed almost immediately by the equally unpleasant experience of finding out how difficult it is to do anything about it.  Even if you have not been stung (yet) most writers are acutely aware of the difficulties in enforcing their IP and copyright both logistically and under the present expensive and time-consuming system of UK law.

Not all members, however, may be aware of the options that are available to them, one such being the service offered by the ALCS (Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society).  The ALCS offers a quick and relatively easy option for anyone producing original copyrightable materials to both protect their work and also earn from their copyright without much difficulty and at reasonable cost.

A membership organisation, the ALCS is open to all and any kind of writer (including non-NUJ members) and collects money due to their members for secondary uses of their work.

This collection service includes income from such things as photocopying, cable retransmission in the UK and overseas, digital reproduction, educational recording and repeat use via the internet. Thus income via the ALCS is typically made up of small transactions that are difficult for individual writers to monitor, but can be tracked by the ALCS using their database.

Aside from collection under prevailing legislation, the ALCS aims to ensure that writers receive fair and adequate payment for the use of their work, and that their rights are recognised and respected; as such it also campaigns on behalf of writers both on a national and international level.

Membership also provides regular updates of any issues that may affect writers, from the latest EU copyright legislation to Google’s mammoth digitisation project.

Free for NUJ members or at a cost of £25 per annum, membership can be applied for simply online.

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  1. Simon Chapman, Bristol Branch Secretary says:

    Since this article was first written, ALCS have changed the wording on their website with respect to the income from their collection service. They have now removed the phrase “repeat use via the internet”. ALCS say that this referred to a pilot licencing scheme for schools run by the CLA who are looking to offer their licensed sectors enhanced rights to copy limited portions from works appearing on designated websites. The schools sector is the first to pilot these additional rights; you can find more details here: http://www.cla.co.uk/licences/licences_available/schools/

    ALCS say that the phrase ‘repeat use via the internet’ could imply a far wider re-use scheme than the current reality, and also say that the CLA schools website pilot falls within the more generic ‘digital copying’ sector.

    There is no general collective licence for repeat use via the internet. NUJ members should licence their work to websites on an individual one-to-one basis with publishers, in the same way that they licence their work for use in print. The NUJ can provide advice on copyright and licencing.

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