Form-filling for fun and profit
YOU CAN claim money for the photocopying of articles you have written for magazines and journals in the UK. Read on to make sure you receive your share from ALCS, the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. One London Freelance Branch member wrote this March: "I've just got my first statement from ALCS and it seems that £1142.25 has been paid into my bank account. I'm absolutely astounded. I didn't think much of what I did made it into libraries or that my grumpy mid-winter efforts of listing what I've done would be wasted." It wasn't.
If you have written articles published in journals and magazines in the UK, these will very likely be photocopied and used in places such as school classrooms, university seminars and business meetings. ALCS collects money for works published in the UK dating back the past three years - so you can currently claim back to 2004.
How do you claim? Register with ALCS by visiting www.alcs.co.uk - or writing to the address below to ask for an application pack. The one-off, lifetime fee to become a full ALCS membership is £25. NUJ members who are currently Associate Members of ALCS can pay a one-off £10 life membership fee. Fees will be deducted from your next payment from ALCS.
Once registered, all you need to do is submit details of any articles published from January 2004 onwards, either via the website, by email or by post, using the relevant forms. For each eligible article submitted you will receive a payment in the subsequent distribution - the next one is in March 2008. You need to submit the relevant information before 31 December 2007 in order for you to receive your share in March.
You need to submit the word-count of each article. Payments are based on the size of the article as well as the genre of publication it appeared in, so writers in widely-photocopied fields - such as business, medicine and science - can receive a fee which reflects the general trends of what is being used.
Most of your payments come from fees charged to UK business, education and government organisations by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), which surveys several hundred selected organisations across these sectors to apportion payment statistically among authors. The CLA takes an administration charge of 11 per cent and writes a large cheque to ALCS, whose admin costs distributing the money to individuals are just 9.5 per cent. ALCS also gathers and distributes smaller sums from photocopying done in other countries.
If you need any further information please visit www.alcs.co.uk and click on the "Journals and Magazine Articles" box.
- ALCS, The Writers' House, 13 Haydon Street, London, EC3N 1DB