Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society
|Type||Company limited by guarantee|
|Founded||23 March 1977|
|Headquarters||The Writers' House
13 Haydon Street
London EC3N 1DB, England, UK
|Area served||United Kingdom|
|Key people||Maureen Duffy (Honorary President), Penny Grubb (Chair), Tony Bradman (Vice-Chair), Owen Atkinson (Chief Executive)|
|Total assets||£28,956,576 (2008)|
The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a British organisation that works to ensure that writers are fairly compensated for any of their works that are copied, broadcast or recorded. It has operated in the United Kingdom since 1977. From that year to 2008, the ALCS distributed over £182 million to authors, and at the end of 2008 had in excess of 66,000 members.
ALCS was founded in 1977 after a long campaign in the United Kingdom by the Writers' Action Group (WAG) for writers to receive remuneration for the lending of their works by libraries. Then known as the Authors' Lending and Copyright Society, it was incorporated on 23 March 1977 to handle:
- payments from Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort (VG Wort – the Word Exploitation Corporation) for the German public lending right (PLR);
- the British PLR;
- Belgian cable television; and
- reprography (photocopying) royalties.
In 1982, The Copyright Licensing Agency was founded by ALCS and the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS). ALCS receives the majority of its income (65–70%) from the CLA's photocopying licensing schemes.
Aims and operation
ALCS represents the interests of all UK writers and aims to ensure they are fairly compensated for any works that are copied, broadcast or recorded. The organisation is dedicated to protecting and promoting authors' rights:
- by encouraging the establishment of collective licensing schemes, where appropriate, and ensuring that fees resulting from such schemes are efficiently collected and distributed; and
- by building an understanding of the value of the contribution writers make to society.
ALCS's Ordinary Members sign a mandate that authorizes the Society to license and collect royalties on their behalf. ALCS is granted authority to exercise rights on each author's behalf as part of schemes for the collective administration of royalties in the UK and abroad. The rights range from photocopying, scanning and cable retransmission in the UK and internationally to reproduction in journals. The authority entitles ALCS in agreed circumstances to permit or forbid the exercise of the rights, grant licences, collect fees for use and damages for misuse and take action to defend and protect the rights. ALCS works closely with other writers organisations such as The Society of Authors.
From its inception in 1977 to 2013, ALCS has distributed over £350 million to authors, and in the financial year 2011-2012 it paid over £26 million to over 59,000 authors. Net royalties paid to writers increased by £1.7million to £26.6million in 2011/12, and ALCS membership increased by 4,272 to 79,022.
As an authority on copyright matters and authors' interests, the ALCS is committed to fostering an awareness of intellectual property issues among the writing community. It monitors matters affecting copyright both in the UK and internationally, and makes regular representations on writers' behalf to the UK government and the European Commission. ALCS also administers the All Party Writers Group.
The ALCS is governed by a board of 10 directors, the majority of whom are working writers. The Board is responsible for the overall performance of the Society, which is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee.