ALCS Annual General Meeting 2023

The 45th ALCS Annual General Meeting was held at the Royal Society of Arts in London on 23 November.

It was a pleasure to once again meet our members in person, having returned to in-person AGMs at last year’s event in Norwich. The meeting was also well-attended by those participating remotely via Zoom.

The proceedings began with a panel discussion on artificial intelligence and its impact on authors. The panel was chaired by ALCS Chair Tom Chatfield and included the Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, Nicola Solomon, acclaimed author and journalist, Sathnam Sanghera, and Ethics Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, Mhairi Aitken. You can read more about the panel discussion here.

Tom Chatfield began the AGM by outlining the work that ALCS has undertaken the past year. Addressing concerns around AI, he reiterated our guiding principle of “no use without payment” and assured members that this will be no different for AI. He informed members about ongoing work around new licenses for text and data mining, and explained that this is distinct from licensing generative AI:

“In the short term, we are working with the Copyright Licensing Agency to develop extensions to their existing licences which will permit text and data mining, enabling organisations to copy works for analysis purposes. This is distinct from generative AI, where works are ingested to train systems, as we have seen with models such as ChatGPT.

For these models, we are working to ensure that copyright is enforced and the authors who choose to include their works in such systems will receive appropriate licence fees. We will consult further with members prior to participating in any licensing schemes for generative AI systems.”

He also announced the two new additions to the ALCS Board, Kit Fan and Edwin Thomas, who were appointed earlier this year, and informed members that ALCS planned to review their approaches to corporate governance and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Chief Executive Barbara Hayes took to the stand, announcing another record year, having collected £43.4million and paid out £44.8million to over 100,000 members. She then introduced a video showcasing our biggest achievements this past year.

She reminded members of our 5 year plan, and paid particular focus to the following aims:

  • We’ll support our members’ ability to write by increasing their income.
  • We’ll make the complex easy; through technology, data and our committed workforce.
  • We’ll aim to operate in an ethical and environmentally conscious way.

As the AGM moved on to the formal proceedings, Chief Financial Officer Mark Bispham took to the stand to provide an overview of this year’s finances, as well as demonstrate the positive financial trends over the past 10 years, concluding that “once again we have an excellent set of results” and commending the accounts to the members.

The following agenda items were passed following votes from those members in attendance, as well as advance votes for those unable to attend in person.

Agenda item 1: To receive and adopt the Board of Directors’ Report and Accounts for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Agenda item 2: To receive and adopt the Annual Transparency Report for 2022/23

Agenda item 3: To re-appoint Messrs Shipleys LLP, 10 Orange St, London WC2H 7DQ as Auditors of the Company and to authorise the Directors to fix their remuneration.

Agenda item 4: To consider and if thought appropriate approve the recommendations of the Remuneration Committee regarding Directors’ fees for 2023/24

Agenda item 5: To consider and if thought appropriate approve the passing of the following resolution as a Special Resolution:

That the draft regulations available for inspection on the voting website be adopted as the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company to the exclusion of and in substitution for the existing Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company.

Agenda item 6: To approve the appointment of Kit Fan as a Director of the company in accordance with Article 35(c) of the Company’s Articles of Association

Agenda item 7: To approve the appointment of Edwin Thomas as a Director of the company in accordance with Article 35(c) of the Company’s Articles of Association

You can watch the AGM in full below.