ALCS are an owner and member of CLA, which means data and licence fees gathered from HEIs are a critical part of how ALCS pays royalties to writers. Alice Donovan, Communications Executive at ALCS, explains more about how this relationship works and what these payments mean for writers.
Set up in 1977, ALCS was founded by writers to protect authors’ rights and ensure they receive fair remuneration for their work. 41 years later, and with over 100,000 members, we not only pay out money to authors for the reuse of their work but we’re also involved in lobbying, copyright education projects and research into the status of the industry, such as our 2018 Authors’ Earnings report.
Primarily, we distribute money that is collected for the photocopying and scanning of published works occurring in education institutions like universities and schools, businesses, and government institutions—as well as fees that are received from the television and radio rebroadcasting of scripts. We pay out this money to members in biannual distributions, ensuring writers receive the royalties they are rightfully owed for the reuse of their work.
The quickest way to become a member of ALCS is through the website: alcs.co.uk. We have an easy, online application process and a one-off £36 membership fee which is deducted when you receive your first payment, so we don't ask for any money up front. Signing up is well worth it!
In the past year, most of the books which generated the highest royalties were educational textbooks. In our March 2018 distribution, the top three highest-earning books were a hairdressing textbook, an accounting textbook and a medieval history book. Similarly, the three highest-earning books in the September 2018 distribution were all maths textbooks. Educational books are always popular when it comes to secondary use!
In March 2018, almost 70% of the licence income we received was generated from the Copyright Licensing Agency and was mostly for educational use. With this in mind, if you‘re a writer in the Higher Education sector, joining as a member of ALCS is well worth the effort to make sure you’re receiving the secondary royalties owed for the reuse of your work.
Now more than ever, it’s essential authors know that they receive the relevant royalties for all uses of their work. In the latest research commissioned by ALCS, figures showed that the average income for full-time writers had dropped by 42% in real terms since 2005, and is now under £10,500. With this in mind, the royalties writers receive from us seem even more pertinent—ensuring creators are rightfully recognised when their work is used in all types of ways.
To find out more about the work we do, please visit our website or follow us on social media. While we’re primarily a collective management organisation, the work we do to educate children and young people about the importance of copyright and intellectual property is of equal importance to us. Through our work with organisations like the National Literacy Trust and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), we’re dedicated to creating fun, educational writing competitions for school children to get them thinking about copyright and plagiarism.
In doing so we hope to encourage young people to read and write more for pleasure, while at the same time ensuring the next generation of creators know their work is protected and should be respected.
More information about can be found at: www.alcs.co.uk
This article was originally published in the Winter CITE Forum 2018 magazine, which you can view online here.