Photographers’ Payback forms ‘fraudulently signed’
PHOTO AGENCY Rex Features has written to photographers to say that it has "recently discovered that a small number of Rex contributors' authorisation forms were fraudulently signed by a Rex employee on behalf of some contributors and sent to DACS".
This follows an investigation by members of the Editorial Photo UK group EPUK, concerned about the possibilities for just such malpractice opened up by the proposal that photo agencies form their own collecting society.
As photographer David Hoffman points out, there are a number of other issues to be resolved, including how much of these payments have been "skimmed" off and how they can be recovered.
The letter concludes "If you would like us to modify your relationship with DACS, including by withdrawing Rex's collection of royalties on your behalf, please let me know by responding to this email". EPUK and the NUJ advise photographers not to take any action or to respond to this email until the extent of this malpractice becomes clearer.
DACS is the collecting society through whose Payback scheme many or most NUJ photographers currently get payment for their secondary rights, those that it is impractical for them to collect themselves, for example, photocopying of publications containing their work. EPUK understands that DACS is working quickly and diligently to carry out the necessary checks and is working to minimise the delay in Payback payments to Rex claimants resulting from the fraudulent actions at Rex.