What members can expect from ALCS in 2024

Chief Executive Barbara Hayes and other members of the leadership team outline their focus for championing authors in the year ahead.

Chief Executive Barbara Hayes discusses the upcoming distribution, reviews to improve the way we operate and how we’ll engage with our members.

It’s already too late to wish our members a happy new year and all of us at ALCS are already knee deep in preparation for the first distribution of the calendar year in March, where we are aiming for another huge distribution in excess of £30 million! This will be no mean feat, but our dedicated team are determined to pay as many of you as possible in time for Easter.

During the past year, we have undertaken several reviews which we are now seeking to implement in 2024. A full governance review has taken place and we have just received the recommendations which will help to ensure our structure is current and in line with best practice. This may mean some changes in processes going forward, which we will keep you up to date on as we progress.

We also recently undertook an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion review. As always, we are seeking to improve the experience of our staff and our members in this respect, and in the first instance, have begun implementing changes in-house.

We are currently preparing for a materiality assessment, which will analyse our carbon footprint and environmental impact. We want to ensure we have as minimal an impact as possible, and our hybrid working, hotdesking in a much smaller office and great care with overseas travel has already had a positive impact. We look forward to seeing how we can further improve and embed our approach in our usual activities.

This year will see us move forward with our strategic systems development to ensure our technology keeps pace with the volume of creative output of our members and the use of your works around the world, whilst ensuring the continued granular allocation of monies. This is a huge undertaking, but we have already made a good start and will strive to improve the security, reliability and flexibility of our systems. Of course, ease of use for our members is also paramount.

We’ll be continuing to build relationships with Collective Management Organisations across the globe, and ensure we collect for all uses of your work, wherever they may be used. We’ll also continue to look at new technologies and uses of your work, and wherever possible promote a licensing regime that balances access to consent, credit and compensation for the author.

And finally, in the coming year we will be holding several ‘town hall’ meetings throughout the UK, so that we can engage with our members on the issues that are important to you and report back on what ALCS has been doing to help maximise your income.

Please rest assured that our role remains to protect and promote your rights and ensure you are fairly rewarded when your works are used.  Here’s to a challenging, exciting and – for you – a creative year ahead!


Deputy Chief Executive Richard Combes looks ahead to a year that will provide more clarity around AI, authorship and copyright.

My piece last year opened and closed with a few sentences generated by ChatGPT. At the time, this seemed like a novel way of demonstrating the capability of the technology; then I found the acres of other articles doing the exact same thing. But as Herman Melville observed, “it is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation.”

During the intervening year, the think pieces have piled up, commenting on various policy initiatives, lawsuits and existential crises, while AI-generated content has sprouted online like fungi on the forest floor (including, notoriously, several foraging guides offering unreliable advice about edible mushrooms).

As judicial decisions and statutory rules emerge and evolve over the coming year, we should begin to find answers to key questions about copyright, authorship and creativity in the age of AI. Conceptually, we’ve been here before, repeatedly. The first quarter of this century has seen successive technologies redefine the way that creators’ works are consumed and distributed without due consideration for how they will be credited and paid, and the latest wave is no different.

The false dilemma that’s often presented between an innovative tech sector and a robust framework for copyright and creators’ rights is as artificial as it is banal. It is possible and, if we want to maintain the value and stature of our creative industries, essential to develop models whereby the tech sector is an ally to those creating the works upon which their products and services rely. So, how do we get there from here?

To kick off this general election year, we’re publishing our ‘Manifesto for Writers’, highlighting key areas where policy support is needed. We will follow this in the spring by launching a new campaign identifying the means by which our members, be they authors, scriptwriters or journalists, can benefit from the new revenues being generated by online uses of their content. This work will be supported by external research, commissioned by ALCS or in collaboration with others, setting out the economic, legal and operational considerations underpinning the models we’re proposing.

For almost 20 years, the ALCS authors’ earnings surveys have described a fixed direction of travel, a stubbornly downward trend. This threatens not only the viability of existing careers but also creates barriers to entry for new and diverse voices. So, our work this year is about plotting a new course, on what promises to be an interesting, challenging but vitally important journey; which leads me to close as I opened, with Melville, “it is not down in any map; true places never are”.


ALCS Chair Tom Chatfield discusses the general election and our plans to work with the next government, as well as elections for two new positions on the ALCS Board.

As an author with a particular interest in technology and artificial intelligence, it’s a fascinating time, as well as a privilege, to be chairing ALCS. We will be spending a great deal of our time representing the interests and voices of authors, not least when it comes to the future of legislation and codes of practice around the use of creative works for training AI.

As ever, our guiding principles are that authors should have both control and compensation when it comes to uses of their works; and we will be working closely with our partner organisations, representing everyone from visual artists and scriptwriters to publishers and directors, to ensure that creators’ voices are heard.

Under the leadership of Barbara Hayes, we continue to bring in record amounts of money for our members, a huge achievement in these difficult times—and a testament to the national and international network of relationships we have established with creators and creators’ organisations across the world. We’ll be highly active in these arenas this year, from the World Intellectual Property Organisation to the European Parliament and The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations.

2024 is likely to be an election year and we are ready to work constructively with any prospective government. To this end, we have published our manifesto which outlines the areas we think the government needs to engage with to ensure that our vital creative industries and the creators who sustain them are supported and protected. This includes our work around copyright and artificial intelligence, ensuring digital platforms work for creators, and our campaign for a freelancer commissioner to speak up freelance creatives. We will continue to give a voice to creators through our support of the All Party Writers Group and its events.

From one election to another, two ALCS Board positions will be filled by a membership ballot at our AGM in November. This is always a highlight of the year and follows on from a fantastic discussion and attendance in 2023. I hope to see many of you there, and to celebrate together authors’ works, achievements and aspirations, and the ways in which ALCS makes the writing life a little better for us all.