Payback is an annual service run by DACS paying millions of pounds in royalties to visual artists for the re-use of their UK-published work.

About Payback

Payback royalties come from collective licensing schemes operated by organisations such as the Copyright Licensing Agency and the Educational Recording Agency. They issue licences to businesses to cover the secondary use of copyright-protected work, for example, the photocopying of artwork in books and magazines, or the recording or repeat broadcasting of TV programmes.

We receive a share of the collective revenue to distribute to tens of thousands of artists and artist estates each year. It means you receive the royalties you are legally entitled to from secondary reproductions of your work. It would otherwise be difficult to license these reproductions on an individual basis.


Payback benefits all types of visual artists including photographers, illustrators, fine artists, cartoonists, animators, architects and designers.

To apply, you must:

  • have been published in the UK in at least one book, magazine or TV programme, in any year up to December 2015
  • own the copyright to your work

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

The artist is usually the first copyright owner, but copyright can be transferred to someone else in a contract or agreement. We can only make payments to the current owner of the copyright in any artistic work, so it's important you establish that you own the copyright before applying.

How to claim your share of royalties

To claim your share of Payback royalties, you must complete a form. The easiest way is to claim online. Alternatively, you can request a paper form.

As part of the claim process you must:

  • tell us the number of UK books and magazines your work has appeared in and provide the ISBN or ISSN numbers of up to 6 examples
  • tell us the number of times your work appeared in UK TV programmes broadcast in 2015 and provide up to 3 examples
  • confirm you own the copyright to your work
  • provide up-to-date bank details so we can pay your royalty by direct bank transfer
  • authorise us to collect Payback royalties on your behalf by becoming a Payback member

If you are unable to provide examples with ISBNs and ISSNs, we may be able to accept a sales report from your picture library. Find out more.

Read more about Payback membership

Payback is an annual scheme and you need to submit a form each year to receive royalties. If you apply online, we save your details from your application so it is quicker to complete the following year. If your work has appeared in additional publications since your last application, you must provide a new example.

Once we’ve received your form, and if the information you’ve provided is correct, we aim to pay your royalty by direct bank transfer in December, just before Christmas.

You can read more about Payback in our Frequently Asked Questions.