We make sure you receive the money you’re entitled to as a writer when someone copies or uses your work. We collect money from all over the world, then pay it to our members. So far we’ve paid a total of £500 million.
We’re a not-for-profit organisation, with over 110,000 members. We’re open to all types of writer, and owned by our members. The money we collect is for ‘secondary uses’ of their work – such as photocopies, cable retransmission, digital reproduction and educational recording. These sorts of rights typically bring in small amounts of money that are difficult for writers to monitor individually, so the most effective way to gather them is collectively. It takes tireless investigation, as well as experience and expertise. But nowadays, with the help of our bespoke IT systems, we can collect money from all over the world through agreements with over 55 different societies in more than 40 countries.
We also campaign and lobby on matters important to writers – both at a national and international level – to ensure writers’ rights are recognised and rewarded. Nobody else in the world does exactly what we do, though we’re often compared to other organisations.
For many members, we’re a mysterious organisation that sends them a payment every so often. Some even find us secretive. Yet for others, the reality of where the money comes from is possibly too detailed. There are even potential members who think we’re a scam — until their first payment arrives.
We measure our worth by the amount of money we’ve collected and paid to writers and by the number who join us – as well as by our successes in lobbying and educating about copyright.