Can pay, can’t pay: your sources of income from ALCS

Ahead of distribution month in March, here's our straightforward guide to your works and their uses, and which of these ALCS is currently able to remunerate you for.

Members who are due money in the March distribution will receive payments in their bank accounts on or around the 24 March. Find out more about the upcoming distribution here.

Now read on for a reminder of how your works translate into potential income from ALCS. Whilst the overall picture of where your income might come from is a complicated one because there are so many potential sources, here’s a summary of the most common.



There are two main ways in which your published books can generate income:

  1. Photocopying, scanning and digital copying. Such uses of books, magazine and journal articles currently accounts for approximately 65% of ALCS income. This income comes from licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), set up jointly by ALCS and the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) to license reproduction rights on behalf of its member organisations.
  2. Overseas PLR.  Although UK PLR payments remain the responsibility of Public Lending Right (administered by the British Library), ALCS administers payments due to UK writers from the Austrian, Belgian, Czech Republic, Dutch, Estonian, French, German and Irish PLR schemes. This list is likely to grow in the future as other EU countries implement PLR schemes. If you have written a book that has been published in Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic or Estonia, or is available in libraries in those countries, then you may be entitled to receive income from those countries’ PLR schemes via ALCS.

How do I claim?

You should make sure to register all your books with ALCS, along with any foreign editions of these titles in order to claim your share.

Payments for the above sources are included in the ALCS March distribution.


The sources included under Books (above) also apply to anthologies by two or more authors which include your contributions, for example, essays, articles, poems or short stories. In this case, members will be paid a part-share of any income due, depending on the proportion of their individual authored contribution.

How do I claim?

As for Books (above).


If magazines and journals – whether consumer or academic – containing your work are available to be photocopied or scanned in schools, colleges, universities, businesses, public sector bodies or libraries then you may be entitled to a share of the income collected by the CLA. Each establishment that allows the copying of works pays a licence fee to the CLA in order to remunerate the writers whose works may be used in this way.

How do I claim?

To make sure you receive your share of this income, you should register all your magazine or journal articles written in the last three years (that is, since January 2014).

Payments for the above sources are also included in the ALCS March distribution. The deadline for registering your magazine and journal articles for the 2018 Spring distribution is 30 November 2017.


As of this year, ALCS is now able to make payments to members who have made visual contributions (such as drawings, photographs and maps) to books, magazines or journals, for the scanning and photocopying of these works.

How do I claim?

The deadline for the first round of payments (expected to be made in September 2017) has now passed. Please see ALCS News  for announcements about claims in future years. More information about the announcement of visual payments can be found here.


There are several ways in which your works for television and radio can generate ALCS income:

  1. ALCS makes payments to authors of TV programmes for the simultaneous showing of one country’s broadcasting in another country via a cable network. ALCS receives fees for cable transmission of British programmes containing literary, scripted or underlying literary material, which it then distributes to writers whose works have been broadcast in this way.
  2. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 gave schools, colleges and other educational establishments the right to record any radio or television broadcast for educational purposes without infringing copyright. The Educational Recording Agency (ERA), which was established in 1989, licenses this activity and collects fees to compensate the authors and other owners of the rights in the broadcast works. ALCS is responsible for paying writers their share of the fees collected by ERA.
  3. In most European countries, a levy is charged on the sale of recording and copying equipment. These are usually referred to as private copying levies and are intended to compensate rights owners for the further re-uses of their works. ALCS claims fees on behalf of UK writers from the various private copying levies operating in Europe.
  4. ALCS also collects and distributes fees from miscellaneous sources. These include readings of excerpts of literary works on television and radio in certain countries. The term “small literary rights” is used to describe such payments.

How do I claim?

Though ALCS is able to track cable transmission of many programmes, to make sure you receive your share of cable retransmission income you should provide ALCS with an up-to-date list of TV and radio programmes to which you have contributed.

The same applies in the case of educational recording income, income from private recording and copying, and small literary rights as outlined above.

Payments for these sources of income are normally made in the second of the two annual ALCS distributions. This usually takes place in September each year.



ALCS does not make payments for articles members contribute to newspapers, either on a staff or freelance basis. The licensing for the copying of such articles is handled by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA).



There is potential for income from the CLA for website articles – individual web page contributors. These can be claimed in exactly the same way as print magazine and journal articles above as long as the online publication has an ISSN. However, a claim for the same article in the print and online version of a publication will count as one single claim.

We will update members of any future changes as they occur, so please continue to read ALCS News  regularly for information on any new agreements and sources of income.

Report by Caroline Sanderson, Editor of ALCS News, and Alan Smith, Chief Operating Officer at ALCS