Online only

ALCS distribution on 25 March

Sign up for ‘free money’

AUTHORS who have had works published in journals, magazines and the trade press - including those that now exist only as online pdfs - can get "free money" via the Authors' Licensing and Copyright Society (ALCS).

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ALCS's offices at Shackleton House near London Bridge, with part of HMS Belfast visible in the background

ALCS distributes money collected from institutions such as companies, government departments and university libraries for licences for "secondary uses" of authors' works, such as library photocopying and storage and dissemination via corporate databases. (There's a more detailed explanation of where the money all comes from here.)

This money is distributed to authors by ALCS. The biggest distribution is in March: we hear that an LFB member received a record-breaking amount over £7000 in the March 2020 distribution. For more see the ALCS guide to the March 2021 distribution.

So if you're already with ALCS, make sure they have details of your recent works published in periodicals - not newspapers, regretably - by 4 March. The ALCS website members' area has a guide to how to update details of your work in time for the next distribution.

Also ensure that your email, address and bank details are up to date by 4 March. ALCS will email you to let you know if you're getting some money in the next distribution.

ALCS also pays out for copying of books you've written, edited or contributed chapters to. This is separate from the Public Lending Right payment covering lending of those books.

Works for which ALCS pays out now include "visual contributions" - images (drawings, graphs, photos) in which you hold copyright, used to illustrate your articles or books.

Visual journalists who take photographs other than just to illustrate their own written work are advised to investigate DACS - the equivalent for collecting and distributing income for secondary licences for photographers and artists.

If as an author you've not signed up for ALCS, do so now.