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Collective licensing

A photograph showing a red cloud low to the ground, with coniferous trees.
Landskip, 2000
Simon Patterson. Curated by Locus+, Compton Verney House.

Collective Licensing schemes allow copyright holders to receive royalties when their works are used or reproduced in various media, including print and television which are distributed by DACS through the Payback scheme.

The way we consume and experience visual art is constantly changing, and DACS campaigns for the extension of strong copyright frameworks that protect the rights of artists, however their works may be created, shared and distributed, including across digital devices.

In September 2023, DACS represented visual artists on a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee on Creator Remuneration, where extending existing collective licensing schemes was tabled as a means to alleviate low remuneration.

Read about the DCMS session

The Smart Fund

The Smart Fund is a proposal by culture industry organisations that will ensure creators and performers are paid fairly for their work when it is accessed, distributed and stored on digital devices. It does this using a small percentage from sales of electronic devices which copy, store and share creative content.

The Smart Fund is a no brainer. Currently there isn’t any effective way for creators to be recompensed when their work is downloaded and stored by audiences. The Smart Fund provides a way to invest in creative talent of all ages and backgrounds.

Yinka Shonibare CBE
  • The Smart Fund works on the principle that technology manufacturers can play a vital role in paying creators in the same way that other service providers pay rightsholders when delivering creative content to the public. It is anticipated that the Smart Fund could generate £255-275 million per year for the creative industries.

    Manufacturers pay a small fraction of the value of each device they sell into a fund that is paid out to creators by established Collective Management Organisations. The proportion paid out to each industry would be based on usage of content, and decided by an independent panel.

    By bringing into law a right to creative workers to receive payment for private copying of their work, The Smart Fund mirrors private copy levy schemes that operate successfully in 45 countries, including almost all European countries. This will also enable UK creatives to continue to benefit from these schemes overseas by creating reciprocity agreements between the UK and other countries. Research has shown that a scheme such as the Smart Fund would have no effect on the cost of devices to consumers.

  • The Smart Fund is backed by organisations from across the creative industries:

Accessing and valuing cultural content

In June 2022, DACS commissioned a short survey through YouGov examining how we access and value cultural content, and those who create it.

In one of the biggest shifts in how people access culture in a generation, three-quarters of respondents reported accessing cultural content more than 3 times a week in their home via tech such as tablets, laptops, phones and e-readers. Significantly, 63% of people surveyed are downloading cultural content for free, with 44% paying for content 1-2 times a month.

Read the survey report

Latest news and insights on extending collective licensing