Design and Artists Copyright Society

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The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) is a UK not-for-profit rights management organisation that exists to collect and distribute royalties to visual artists.

It works to ensure that visual artistscopyright and related rights are protected and that these rights are recognised both financially and morally.

DACS was established in 1984 and in the last five years[when?], it has distributed £34.5 million in royalties to visual artists through its services, whilst retaining £6.21 million for its not-for-profit organisational costs. It represents 60,000 visual artists and artists’ estates worldwide through an international network of collecting societies. DACS is a member of CISAC (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d´Auteurs et Compositeurs). [1]


DACS was founded in 1984 by a group of artists and lawyers who identified that there was a need for an organisation to manage visual artist’s copyright in the UK, to ensure that they were fairly remunerated and their rights respected.

Copyright Licensing is the organisation’s longest running service where DACS acts as an agent on behalf of visual artists to manage requests to reproduce their work. Royalties are paid to artists through this service four times a year. 25% of the monies collected are retained by DACS for administration costs.

In 2001, DACS launched a new collective licensing service for visual artists. Known as Payback, this service distributes a share of revenue generated through various UK collective licensing schemes back to visual artists. Visual artists whose work has been reproduced in UK publications and on certain UK television channels are entitled to share of this revenue. Artists are required to submit a claim to DACS between June and September and royalties are then paid in December to successful claimants.

On 14 February 2006, and following a European Directive, visual artists in the UK benefited from the Artist's Resale Right (Droit de suite) for the first time. This Right entitles artists to a portion of the sale price when their work is resold through an auction house, art gallery or art dealer, however there are certain conditions which govern an artist’s entitlement to benefit from this Right. DACS collects resale royalties on behalf of its artist members and those that do not join another collecting society. From 1 January 2012, the Artist’s Resale Right was fully implemented in the UK entitling artist’s heirs and beneficiaries to a resale royalty. DACS retain 15% of these royalties.


DACS is governed by a board of 9 directors. They include both artists and lawyers as well as other professionals who are responsible for the overall performance of the organisation and are responsible to aboard of artists. In October 2011, DACS announced the appointment of Mark Stephens CBE, of Finers Stephens Innocent, as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, replacing Andrew Potter who stepped down in December 2011.[2]


  1. ^ CISAC Member Societies List. ROLLET, Marianne (CISAC). Validated 2011-09-08
  2. ^ Mark Stephens CBE announced as new chair of DACS. Finers Stephens Innocent. 2011-10-06.

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