What are ‘secondary uses’ or ‘secondary rights’?

The contract you hold with your publisher, or the producer of your work, is an agreement that sets out how your work can be distributed to the public (for example, in print or e-book format) and how you’ll be paid for this. These are your ‘primary rights’.

‘Secondary rights’ (or ‘secondary use’) involve situations where a third party uses a work that’s already been distributed to the public – such as when schools photocopy books they own, or libraries lend books, or overseas TV companies retransmit UK TV signals.

Your publisher or producer will pay you the royalties collected from ‘primary rights’ – either directly, or through an agent. Royalties from ‘secondary rights’ are paid to writers through ALCS – unless the royalties come from UK library lending, when the Public Lending Right (PLR) pays them.

The money you receive from us is your share of any payments collected. If they’re collected in the UK through the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), your publisher will receive their own share through the Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS). 

Your publisher will deal with your ‘Primary rights’ – ALCS only pays ‘Secondary rights’.