What is copyright licensing?

Copyright can be 'assigned' or 'licensed'. Assigning your copyright means selling it; you will no longer have control over the way in which your artwork is used.

Licensing your copyright, on the other hand, means you simply grant permission to the licensee to use your artwork in a specific way for a specific purpose. It is also possible to license the same artwork for a number of different uses.

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What’s the difference between an assignment and a licence?

Assigning your copyright means selling it, and you will no longer have control over the way in which your artwork is used in the future.

If you license your copyright on the other hand, you are simply granting permission to the licensee to use your artwork in a specific way and for a specific purpose. You retain the copyright for all other uses.

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Which uses of my work do you license?

We can license any or all rights in the copyrighted works of artists we represent, as defined under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. 

That means, with your permission, we can license the following uses:
  • Making a copy of your work
  • Distributing copies of your work
  • Renting or lending copies of your work
  • Communicating the work to the public
  • Making the work available to the public
We grant these rights to our licensing customers on a one-time, non-exclusive basis.

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How much does it cost me?

There is no charge to sign up to our Copyright Licensing service. As we're not-for-profit, we retain a percentage of the royalties we collect on your behalf to cover our costs. 

For royalties collected in the UK we deduct 25% and for royalties collected from overseas we deduct 15%.

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What are your quality criteria?

We aim to ensure that any uses of your work meet the following criteria:
  • Colour is reproduced as faithfully as possible
  • You are credited as the artist of the work
  • Your work is not manipulated or subjected to any derogatory treatment
  • The title of your work is cited accurately

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How do you work out what to charge?

We set our prices according to market rates. Our many years of experience, backed up by continued conversations with our customers, have led to us to build up a fair and comprehensive list of prices. As well as our licence fees, we also provide information on how each is calculated.

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Do you only deal with UK requests?

We are part of a reciprocal international network of 37 collecting agencies in 32 countries. This means that a magazine in Tokyo, a television station in Australia or a book publisher in Germany wanting to reproduce your work can speak to someone in their own language and their own timezone, and be issued a licence under their own country’s laws.

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Will you promote my work?

Sign up for our Copyright Licensing service and you become part of an international community of artists whose rights are represented worldwide.

We'll provide an easy and streamlined process for customers wanting to clear artistic copyright, but we do not actively promote your work to them unless they approach us.

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How do people know to contact you when they want to reproduce my work?

We represent 90,000 artists worldwide, which means we are often the picture editor’s first port of call when they need to clear an artist’s copyright.

Any customer wishing to apply for a licence can check if we represent the artist by using our searchable list of artists. Alternatively, any request that comes directly to the artist can be passed to our team to follow up with a licence.

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Which type of uses can be covered by a licence?

Your work can be reproduced in many different ways, for example in a book, on a mug, as a theatre backdrop, in an advertising campaign, on a website or as a postcard.

We can license all these uses on your behalf.

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Will you help me if my copyright is infringed?

If you sign up to our Copyright Licensing service and your work is used without permission, we would consult with you, then seek to negotiate with the infringer and achieve a suitable compromise or settlement.

As the copyright owner, you retain the right to initiate legal proceedings yourself if you wish to do so. We would assist you wherever possible. We are not obliged, however, to institute legal proceedings on behalf of the artists we represent.

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Can I override your fees?

Yes. if you believe the licence required warrants a higher or lower fee, it is your right to override our fees.

Our tariffs were set after researching the various industries and what uses they wanted to make of artworks however, and in the majority of cases the artists we represent do not choose to override our fees.

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Can I waive a fee?

We believe all artists and visual creators should benefit from the rights and royalties legally available for the works they create. It is well accepted that writers, musicians and composers benefit financially from their copyright royalties and we believe that visual artists should too.

We are flexible on this point, however. If you wish to waive fees in a particular instance, or for a certain use, it is your right to do so. We understand that you may sometimes wish to deal with certain reproductions yourself, particularly where you are closely involved with an exhibition or project. In these cases we would not put a licence in place.

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Where do your customers get an image of my work?

Anyone who is issued a licence by us should source the actual image from galleries, image libraries, museums, your studio or wherever high resolution images of your work are held.

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I already receive royalties from DACS, does this mean you already represent me?

Copyright Licensing is not the only service we provide to artists. If you have received Artist’s Resale Right or Payback royalties from us, it does not mean that we automatically manage your copyright.

If you are unsure which services you are currently signed up to, please contact us on membership@dacs.org.uk.

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What if I already have someone who licenses my copyright?

If an agent or image library already licenses your artistic copyright, then this would conflict with our Copyright Licensing service. Only one organisation can license and negotiate the reproduction of your work.

Whomever you choose to manage your copyright, you still retain ownership of it, and can continue to reproduce your artworks for your own purposes.

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Will signing up to this service cause a problem with my gallery?

Your relationship with your gallery should remain unaffected, unless they already operate a licensing service on your behalf.

Our Copyright Licensing service deals only with the reproduction of your works, and should not be confused with the sale of original artistic works.

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Can I leave the service?

Of course. Most artists who sign up to our Copyright Licensing service are very happy, but we understand that it might not suit everyone.

If you choose to leave the service, all you need to do is give us three months' written notice. We will continue to work with you in the intervening period, and pay any outstanding royalties after your registration comes to an end.

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