What is Payback?

Payback is an annual scheme which pays artists for the photocopying or scanning of their artworks in UK books and magazines, or when shown on TV.

In 2023, thousands of artists and their representatives claimed a share of over £5.3 million in Payback royalties.

The money comes from a number of collective licensing schemes, but mainly from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). Every year the CLA sells photocopying licences to schools, universities, local councils, central government, and business organisations to allow them to photocopy copyright-protected works, including books.

If your work is published in the UK, you should claim.

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Does it cost me anything to join?

There is no joining fee to become a Payback member. You simply agree to the Payback Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy when you make your claim. You can find this under the ‘Personal Details’ section in your online account.

As a not-for-profit organisation, DACS retains a share of the royalties we collect on your behalf to cover our costs and we are always seeking ways to reduce this percentage. Since 2007, we have reduced our administration fee from an initial 25% to the current rate of 15%.

As a Payback member, DACS will pay you your Payback royalties, as well as campaigning on your behalf for artists rights. We’re committed to giving you the best service, which is why we are constantly re-investing in developing our systems. Our new Payback website makes it easier than ever to claim and receive faster royalty payments.

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How does it work?

Payback runs from January to April each year. 
Payback 2023 is now closed for claims.
Go to payback.dacs.org.uk to sign in to access your claim form or create your account if claiming for the first time.

Watch our short video to find out what you need to do to complete your claim: 

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What do I need to do in Part 1 of the claim form?

In Part 1 you need to provide us with the ISBNs (international standard book number), ISSNs (international standard serial number) or website URLs for each of the publications your work has been featured in.

You are paid when the data you provide matches the lists of titles held by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA).

We encourage everyone to complete Part 1 as an increasing share of Payback royalties come from the matched data from the CLA. By completing Part 1, you’re maximising your chances of receiving more royalties.

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What do I need to do in Part 2 of the claim form?

In Part 2 we ask for the total number of books and magazines your works have been featured in, and the number of times your works appeared within those publications.

You can’t claim for website URLs in Part 2.

You must submit Part 2 to complete your Payback claim and receive any royalties.

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How much will I get in royalties?

In 2023, 92,000 visual artists and estates received a share of over £5.3 million.

There is no set amount paid out to visual artists as it depends on the following factors:
- the number of books and magazines in your claim and the number of works in them,
- how many other artists claim Payback,
- how much of your claim matches with the CLA’s list of titles.

The majority of royalties we pay out comes from the CLA. The amount you receive will also be determined by whether you complete both Part 1 and 2 of the claim form.

In the table below, you’ll see how the royalties are split between each part of the claim form.


Where does the CLA revenue comes from? Share of revenue paid out in Part 1  Share of revenue paid out in Part 2 
Licences for education institutions 40%  60% 
Licences for non-education  30%  70% 

The CLA have split the revenue available for visual artists according to where the revenue comes from – licences for education institutions (schools, colleges, universities etc) and for non-education (other types of businesses).

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When will I receive my Payback royalties?

If you submit your claim to us by the deadlines, and provided your details are correct, you will receive your royalty in the Autumn. We will be in touch to let you know when to expect payment.

If you need to update your bank details, please do so on the Payback website. Please note, we close the Payback website for a brief period each autumn while we process royalty payments. 

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Who can make a claim?

All kinds of visual artists can make a claim, as Payback covers many types of visual art including illustration, photography, and fine art.

If you are an illustrator, sculptor, cartoonist, photographer, fine artist, designer, architect, or any other type of visual artist then you can claim Payback. The important thing is that you own the copyright in your work.

The beneficiaries of artists can claim too. The important thing is that their work is covered by copyright and you own the copyright in the artwork you are claiming royalties for.

If you are unsure if you own the copyright in your work, you might find the information we provide on our Knowledge Base useful.


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What publications can I claim for?

For Payback 2024, you can claim for any artwork or photograph that has appeared in a book or magazine published in the UK up until the previous year and so long as you own the copyright. For example for Payback 2024, you could claim for any work published up until the end of 31 December 2023. You can also include works published on UK websites in Part 1 of your claim.

There is no backward limit to when the work needs to have been published – you can claim for artwork published three years ago, thirty years ago or more. You can also claim for work reproduced in a book that has gone out of print. It doesn’t matter if it is one piece of work appearing in one book, or thousands of works appearing in thousands of books. You are still entitled to a share of the royalties. 

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What television can I claim for?

Payback also covers the use of your work in television programmes. However, unlike a publication claim, you can only claim for work shown on TV in the previous year only. For example for Payback 2024, you could claim for works appearing on TV in 2023. 

You can claim for work which has featured on the following channels in 2023 only: BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament, ITV1, Channel 4, S4C, Channel 5, Discovery, A&E and National Geographic.

You can also claim for the images again, if the programme is repeated on television in the previous year. e.g. 2023. 


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What can’t I claim for?

You cannot claim Payback royalties for the following:

• Artistic works for which you do not own the copyright, including works created under employment where the copyright rest with the employer
• Non-UK publications or websites
• Artistic works out of copyright at the time of use
• Works included in newspapers, weekend supplements, leaflets and brochures
• Works reproduced in publications without an ISBN or ISSN number
• Works on social media
• e-Books, e-Journals, digital apps
• Works being claimed for on your behalf by an Authorised Representative
• Photographs licensed for use under the BBC TelPic contract
• Works you have claimed for in a television claim in the past (unless repeated on television in the previous claim year)
• Works used in feature films
• Ordnance Survey maps
• Logos and trademarks
• Writing, literary or musical works
• Industry manufactured products
• Videos or computer games
• DVD, CD-Rom
• Speculative television claims
• Claims for your image as an actor
• Derivative works where your contribution is not copyright protected in its own right

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Where can I find the ISBN or ISSN?

An ISBN, or an International Standard Book Number, is a 13-digit code to identify a book.  You can find the ISBN of a book on the back cover of paperbacks, or on the inside of the fly jacket of a hardback, usually above the barcode.
Older books may have a 10-digit ISBN instead. When you add this to your list it will be automatically converted it to its equivalent 13-digit number.
If you don’t have physical copies to hand, you can use the following online resources to help you identify the ISBN or ISSN:

An ISSN, or an International Standard Serial Number, is an 8-digit number to identify a magazine or journal. Magazines usually have the same ISSN for every edition/ issue. The ISSN of a magazine is sometimes on its front cover, above the barcode.
If you can’t find the ISSN of a magazine, then you can type the barcode number in when adding a title to your list. Our site will convert the number for you.
When entering the barcode into the Part 1 search field, please only enter the first 13 digits (usually beginning 977), with no spaces or hyphens.
The link below may also provide ISSN information, but please make sure you select the UK version of the magazine:
ISSN portal
Website URLs
You can also add website URLs in part 1 of your claim. All we need is the main website address, not the specific page your image features on. For example, dacs.org.uk, and not https://www.dacs.org.uk/for-artists/payback/frequently-asked-questions.
If you have more than one image on a particular website, please claim as you would for a magazine, with the total number of images claimed for on one URL.


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What if I can’t supply all my ISBNs and ISSNs?

Don’t worry if you don’t have a record of every single UK publication. Simply provide as much information as you can to get the most out this part of your claim.

The information you enter is saved in your online Payback account so each following year it will be easier for you to update any new titles or information, building up a comprehensive publication history.

Just remember, while Part 1 is optional, you must complete Part 2 to ensure you receive any royalties.

Please note, if you’ve claimed before, we will have checked and corrected some of your data in your previous part 1 claims. This includes converting some barcodes into ISSNs, and converting 10-digit ISBNs into their 13-digit equivalent. Anything that was found to be invalid has been removed.

If you are applying for television only, you only need to complete Part 2 – TV claim.

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Do you accept picture library sales reports instead of ISBNs and ISBNs?

We understand that in some instances individuals may not have specific ISBN or ISSN data, if the image was licensed by a picture library on their behalf. If this is the case, unfortunately you won’t be able to claim for part 1.

The good news is that we can accept copies of your Sales Reports as a means of validating Part 2 of your claim. If you are submitting Sales Reports to us, you must clearly highlight which examples you wish to include in order to validate your claim. You can upload your sales report directly on the Payback website, using the Supporting Documents button on the Part 2 Books and Magazines claim screen.

Some picture libraries will include a region or territory column on your Sales Report and you must ensure that the region or territory column specifically states UK or United Kingdom. This is because you can only claim for work which has been published in a UK published book or magazine. Please note, items on your sales report that are listed as Worldwide or English language without a specific territory, will not be eligible.
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What happens if I make an error on my application?

We will check your form for errors, such as partial completion of the form or incomplete publication examples.

If we identify an error, we will email you to advise how it can be rectified. Due to the large volume of claims we receive; we can only contact you twice regarding an error. If you do not rectify the error by the given deadline, we will unfortunately reject your claim on grounds of insufficient information, and you will miss out on Payback royalties.

It is really important that you check your claim for errors before submitting your form, as well as making sure you only claim for eligible uses.

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What happens if I apply for Payback royalties directly as well as through a picture library?

You can claim for images you have licensed for use in UK publications, as well as have your picture agency (or agencies) claim on your behalf for the images they have licensed for you.

If at the close of the Payback submission period you have more than one Payback claim submitted in your name and they exceed the maximum level that one claim can reach, then we will proportionately reduce these claims.

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I am a contributor to a picture library but I want to claim as an individual. What do I do?

You must inform both the picture library and DACS of this well in advance of the Payback deadline.

There may be contractual agreements in place between you and the picture library, which DACS are not privy to. Therefore, you should always check with them before making a direct claim to avoid any duplicate claims.

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Why do I need to contact you if my work has been reproduced more than 50,000 times?

If the volume of your published work (books and magazines only) exceeds 50,000 we will need to make some manual changes to your form to make sure you receive the right amount of royalties, so please get in touch.

This applies to unique uses of your artwork in eligible books and magazines. For example, if you have had 1,000 photographs published in 50 separate publications, or 100 illustrations in 500 separate publications. This calculation does not apply to sales figures or to print runs of publications, rather unique uses of your copyrighted images in multiple publications.

If you have any queries about this, please contact us at payback@dacs.org.uk or 0207 780 7580.

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