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.