What members can expect from ALCS in 2022

Chief Executive Owen Atkinson and more members of the leadership team explain their focus for writers, and writers' rights, for the year ahead.

Chief Executive Owen Atkinson writes about the March distribution, AuthorSHARE and the authors’ earnings survey coming in February.

Covid-aside, 2021 was an exciting year at ALCS. Our traditional areas of licensing were strong, and the addition of new income streams has meant we’re on target to pay out over £26m in the March distribution. The Copyright Licensing Agency and the Educational Recording Agency continue to be our largest sources of revenue in the UK, and it was great to see both organisations sign new 5-year deals with the Department for Education, guaranteeing income from the schools sector up until March 2026.

Last year we launched AuthorSHARE, a pioneering partnership with the Society of Authors, the online used books retailers World of Books (Wob), and Bookbarn International. This has resulted in authors receiving payments for the sale of second-hand books for the first time. We want to encourage more used-book retailers to join the scheme and recognise the importance of the writer to their business throughout the coming year.

While the year ahead remains challenging, we hope that things are now starting to slowly head back to normality, and we look forward to holding more events around the country and meeting up with members in person. During the year we plan to undertake a major survey into writers’ earnings. We know that many writers have suffered as a result of the pandemic, and it’s important that as many writers as possible complete the survey so that we can share the results with the All Party Writers Group (APWG) in the Houses of Parliament, and advocate for more financial support for creators. Overseas, we will continue to work at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for the greater protection of authors’ rights.

Finally, a note to visit the members’ area to update your details and works. It’s easy to use and registering your works helps to ensure we allocate the fees we collect in the correct way.


Chair Tony Bradman looks forward to a bright new year.

There’s no doubt that many have struggled financially over the last couple of years, especially in the creative industries. Too many of our members have seen their incomes devastated, not least those in my own area of writing for children. Yet it feels at last as if we’re all beginning to poke our heads up out of the trench. I’m encouraged by my reading of history – ‘that passed, and so shall this of mine’, as the chorus says in one of my favourite Anglo-Saxon poems, Deor. People and societies are resilient, and often recover much more quickly than anyone expects.

I’m pleased to report that despite the challenges, ALCS has continued its vital work of collecting the rights money that belongs to members and distributing it to you as efficiently as those distant pre-pandemic days. In fact, ALCS has had two very good years in financial terms, and that success looks set to continue over the next twelve months. The team has also worked hard to find new sources of income in books and AV.

We’ll be making sure our Board is in top shape too. Our two excellent new directors, Okechukwu Nzelu and Helen Blakeman will no doubt shine here. I’m keen on a governance review – watch this space for more on that.

I wish you a happy new year. May all your writing projects go brilliantly!


Deputy Chief Executive Barbara Hayes on how ALCS is continuing to fight for authors’ rights through a range of events, both past and future.

2021 felt like a stop-start year. Events and meetings were planned and cancelled. We were delighted to hold the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception and The Ruth Rendell Award and the Educational Writers’ Award in the House of Commons in December 2021, just days before we were all asked to work from home again. The parliament-sponsored Film the House winners’ event has been moved twice. We’re hoping for it to take place in March – fingers crossed.

When we have been able to meet parliamentarians in person, there’s been huge support for writers’ work, and goodwill in raising issues of concerns to the powers that be. Already this year, a debate in the House of Lords looked at what steps the government intend to take to support the economic recovery and growth of authors, booksellers, and libraries, in England after the pandemic, kindly raised by the Earl of Clancarty, Vice-Chair of APWG. The government response is allowing us to press some of our key asks from the APWG Inquiry: Supporting Writers through the COVID-19 Crisis.

To assist the government with its goal of ‘levelling up’, we’ll be working with Professor Katy Shaw and Claire Malcolm of New Writing North, engaging with MPs and peers from across the country, looking at how writers from underrepresented backgrounds can be supported and encouraged into the UK writing industries. We’ll be holding a roundtable to discuss and reflect on the challenges that new writers experience entering the industry and we’ll keep you updated through the year.

Keep reading ALCS News. That’s where we share all our updates and will let you know what you can do to help. Happy 2022!


Head of Rights and Licensing Richard Combes explains the resilience of ALCS, and his focus on EU partnerships, Artificial Intelligence, and the survey he needs your help with.

Despite the uncertainties of the past two years, the ALCS operation has proved resilient and continued to deliver significant payments to writers. This resilience is founded on strong licensing partnerships underpinned by a balanced copyright framework, which we will continue to develop and support this year.

We look forward to working with our EU partners to ensure that UK authors benefit from new rights emerging in light of the 2019 copyright directives. At home, we will continue collaborating on a licensing initiative to improve the position of authors in relation to broadcast reuses, while also further developing our online educational resources.

This year AI will be in focus as the government reviews copyright rules for works created through machine learning. Central to this debate is the value of the human experience in the creation and telling of authentic stories. Which leads to the final signpost for the year ahead, pointing towards our next authors’ earnings survey. We know many of you will have struggled professionally over the past two years as work opportunities have diminished or disappeared altogether. Please share your experiences when the survey launches at the start of February. This information will support our arguments for improved working conditions for writers in this and future years.