Artists and copyright infringement: How DACS’ Enforcement Service can assist

    Artists rely on royalties to support their livelihoods, so copyright infringements can have a big impact on their careers. Find out how DACS is doing its best to help. 

    When an artist’s work is used without their permission, it has a detrimental effect on the artist, their reputation and their legacy.
    Dealing with these unauthorised uses, or copyright infringements, can be a lengthy or complex process for artists and estates. So DACS provides support for all of our Copyright Licensing members in the form of our Enforcement Service.

    Discover our Enforcement Service


    How DACS can help

    As stated above, if you’re a member of DACS for Copyright Licensing, you have access to our Enforcement Service. Seen an unauthorised use of your artistic work? Get in touch.
    Using our in-depth knowledge and experience of UK copyright law and exceptions, DACS’ Legal team will assess whether or not an infringement has taken place. For UK-based infringements, the Legal team will consult with you first to understand your desired outcome, and then follow up with the user. The outcome could include a retrospective licence or removal of the infringing item.
    Our ultimate goal is to help artists or their heirs find an appropriate solution or put an end to the infringement.

    One member’s experience: “I did it for John”

    We spoke to Richard Riley from the Estate of John Craxton about his experience of copyright infringement and how DACS’ Enforcement Service helped.
    He recounts the feeling of spotting an unauthorised use of John’s work in a publication:

    “If someone picked up the telephone and said to me, ‘Look, we’d like to use this image in a book’, depending on who they are, I would say yes. But when they blatantly go out, put an image in a book… and there’s not even an acknowledgement that it belongs to the estate, I think ‘Right!’ and get onto DACS. It’s great.”

    A worldwide network

    If your artistic work has been used outside of the UK, we can still provide support. DACS is part of an ever-expanding network of sister societies across the globe, so if your work has been used without your permission in one of our sister society territories, we will then refer the matter on to them to assess whether it is an infringement and follow up accordingly.

    “There have been a few [infringements] in the last year or two and the process has been great. John was very happy with DACS, and I am too.” 

    What if I’m not a Copyright Licensing member?

    If you are not a member of our Copyright Licensing service, we have a Knowledge Base full of helpful information on copyright infringements:

    Infringement FAQs 
    How do I know if my artwork’s been infringed? 
    Exceptions to copyright factsheet  
    A guide to Notice and Takedown 
    Read about how DACS helped member Beth Nicholas with an infringement

    If you sign up to our Copyright Licensing service now, we will be able to help you the next time an infringement happens, as DACS cannot handle infringement matters that pre-date your membership.

    Join DACS: Learn more about Copyright Licensing for artists and artist estates    
    Need a licence? Buy a licence from DACS or our picture library, Artimage.

    Image: Richard Riley from the Estate of John Craxton, photographed by Brian Benson for DACS. Photograph © Brian Benson, 2018.

    Posted on 20/09/2018 by Jessica Bancroft