It’s that time of year when writers might see some ‘free’ money pop into their bank accounts, but not everyone will be lucky. The secondary rights organisations (ALCS and DACS) are making distributions, as follows:

ALCS (Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society)

For an explanation of the secondary rights for which ALCS collects money on your behalf check out their webpage: https://www.alcs.co.uk/what-are-secondary-rights and also this one: https://www.alcs.co.uk/where-the-money-comes-from

ALCS make two distributions a year: March and September. The March payment is the biggest and is for material that has been published in magazines and journals. The September distribution is far smaller and distributes income received for television and radio retransmissions, and a few photocopying fees from educational institutions. Writers of audiovisual projects are most likely to receive a payment. However, the small amount of income from educational photocopying can mean that authors might see a small payment drop into their bank account on 27th September 2017. If you are entitled to a payment you should receive an email from ALCS.

It’s always a useful reminder to ensure that you’ve claimed everything that you’re entitled to claim. Simply log into your account and select the Add Work link.

If you’re not a member of ALCS and you’ve had your written work published in a print publication with an ISSN or a book with an ISBN then you should join. There is a one-off joining fee, but it is taken from your first payment, so it doesn’t cost you anything upfront. For more information about joining visit: https://www.alcs.co.uk/join-alcs

DACS (Design and Artists Copyright Service)

DACS is a similar organisation, in that it collects income for the secondary rights usage of creators’ work. However, whilst ALCS is focussed on words, DACS is for visual artists like photographers, sculptors, painters, designers, etc. So those writers who also take photographs to accompany their words should be registered for DACS’ Payback scheme.

There have been some changes to the way these organisations collect money and distribute it amongst themselves (indeed ALCS will now collect some visual distribution money) so there’s beginning to be some blurring between these organisations. (For a more detailed explanation as to what’s going on click here … but have a strong cup of coffee beside you while you read it.)

DACS brought forward their claim date this year, which means that instead of making their distribution in December, as they have in the past, they’re hoping to make their distribution for 2016 claims by the end of this month: ie – this week. You should receive an email notifying you of when to expect a payment, and how much it will be. If you’ve had any photographs published in a magazine with an ISSN, or a book with an ISBN then you could be eligible for money. For further information about the Payback scheme membership visit: https://www.dacs.org.uk/for-artists/payback/membership

I hope this week is a good week for your bank accounts!

Good luck.