Artists’ Payback royalties secured for 2015 and 2016

    DACS is pleased to announce it has made positive progress in its discussions with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) regarding the royalties owed to visual artists through its collective licensing scheme. These royalties are paid annually to artists and estates through DACS’ Payback scheme. 

    CLA signs interim agreement guaranteeing royalties for next two years

    In March 2015 we informed Payback members that the CLA were challenging an agreement with DACS which guarantees visual artists and their estates a share of royalties from the collective licensing scheme it operates.
    These royalties, which amount to over £4 million per year, make up a substantial proportion of the money distributed to artists and estates each year through Payback.
    Earlier this month we sought mediation with the CLA to resolve the dispute. We can now share the outcomes of this process.
    DACS and the CLA have made positive progress in their discussions and both organisations have signed an interim agreement which secures Payback distributions to DACS’ members in 2015 and 2016.

    What will happen beyond 2016?

    We are now participating in a valuation process alongside the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA) and the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS).
    This will determine the share of royalties allocated to artists, publishers and authors by the CLA in future.  We are keen to ensure that images are properly valued and that individual rightsholders are properly remunerated.
    We will update you on the outcome of the valuation process later in 2015.

    Artists voice concerns over potential ​loss of Payback income

    The overwhelming response we received from members regarding the dispute with the CLA has reaffirmed just how important a source of income Payback royalties are for artists and estates - more so now than ever.
    Payback royalties have provided artists with a reliable stream of income for over a decade, in a rapidly shifting economic and cultural landscape which has directly impacted artists’ modest wages.
    As Nick Sinclair, photographer and Payback member, illustrates: “In 1992 we bought our first flat in central London for £60,000. At the time I was working for the Telegraph magazine, who typically paid me an all-in rate of £600. Our home cost 100 freelance jobs. Today, you would probably be paid more like £300 and that same flat would cost around £600,000 - that is a staggering 2000 jobs.”
    Discussing the impact of digital on copyright, he said: “If the perception or reality of copyright is watered down, many freelance artists will pay a heavy price, and low incomes will head yet lower.”
    While the financial environment for artists has changed, Payback royalties have continued to make an important contribution to artists’ livelihoods and practice.
    For photographer Paul Watts, it is the only way his photography business is able to survive. He said, “I do not see any way that I could continue being a professional photographer without Payback, nor would I be able to carry on running the Photo Library, which represents 123 photographers.”
    Retired photographer Moira Conway said: “I have a very small pension like a lot of freelancers. The yearly Payback royalty from DACS is very helpful to my everyday expenses. It also gives myself and other artists a feeling that we are valued and that someone is looking after our interests. “
    Jonathan Allen, an artist and writer, said: “In the current marketised cultural environment, the regular Payback income secured by DACS represents one of the few (diminishing) ways in which artists can draw some material benefit from their work. As a recent issue of Art Monthly states, ‘Artists must eat!’”
    Find more about Payback:  

    Image: Payback member, Tom Gauld. Photography by Brian Benson © Brian Benson, 2015.

    Posted on 23/03/2015 by Laura Ward-Ure