Copy jam cleared
WHAT COULD could have been a tricky problem with ALCS photocopying revenue had been resolved after an extremely productive meeting.
It began when Phil Sutcliffe (London Freelance Treasurer, inter alia) spotted that ALCS (the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) was preparing to impose a 350-word minimum on articles for which they would collect photocopying royalties.
Phil raised his concern, pointing out that the NUJ had not been consulted. Freelance organiser John Toner became involved at this point, and ALCS agreed to a meeting to discuss the problem. Phil, John and NUJ copyright consultant Carol Lee attended a meeting of ALCS distribution sub-committee and were pleasantly surprised by the committee's positive attitude.
We explained that some publications carry articles, such as reviews, that are shorter than 100 words. Clearly, these should not be excluded. (Indeed, they may be copied especially often by students, say.) ALCS welcomed this information and agreed that there would be no minimum. Instead, they will use the word-count of articles as a factor when they evaluate the fees to be distributed.
NUJ members will also benefit from a lower commissions rate. ALCS will take an 11% administration charge from NUJ members and 14% from non-members.
ALCS will also become more proactive in encouraging writers to retain their copyright, and will work with the NUJ on a high profile campaign. All of which means that there will be a closer working relationship between ALCS and the NUJ from this point on - which is something to be welcomed.