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 artists' copyright and related rights are protected and that these rights are recognised both financially and morally.

DACS was established in 1984 and since being founded,[1] it has distributed £100 million in royalties to visual artists and artists' estates through its services. DACS retains a percentage of the royalties it collects and distributes on behalf of artists to cover its not-for-profit organisational costs. It represents 100,000 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).[2]


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 and their estates to manage requests to reproduce their work. Royalties are paid to artists and estates 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 a share of this revenue. Artists are required to submit a claim to DACS between January and May and royalties are then paid in the Autumn 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. The Artist's Resale Right was fully implemented in the UK on 1 January 2012 also entitling artist's heirs and beneficiaries to a resale royalty. DACS retains 15% of the royalties collected from UK sales. They do not retain anything for royalties collected from overseas sales.

In 2014, DACS launched its newest service called Artimage, which complements the organisation's Copyright Licensing service by making artists' images available for licensing via a dedicated website.


DACS is governed by a board of directors. They include both artists and lawyers as well as other professionals who are responsible for the overall performance of the organisation. Mark Stephens (solicitor) CBE, of Howard Kennedy[3], has been Chair of the Board of Directors since 2011.

DACS reintroduced Voting membership in 2014. All Voting members are eligible to attend DACS’ Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and vote on matters of the company, for example to appoint or remove a Board Director, to approve their financial documentation or other governance matters.


  1. ^ "DACS Annual Review, 2016" (PDF).
  2. ^ CISAC Member Societies List Archived 6 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ROLLET, Marianne (CISAC). Validated 2011-09-08
  3. ^ "London Law FirmHoward Kennedy".

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