Monday 16 January 2012

ALCS to lose educational copyright income?

The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in the United Kingdom has been emailing its members to warn them that their income from the ALCS may be about to take a hit:. The circular reads, in relevant part, as follows:
"Immediate threat to ALCS income for writers 
A recent and unexpected addition to the Government consultation on the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property is one that could effectively eradicate the income that ALCS receives from educational sources. We are asking for your help in trying to avert this very serious threat to your ALCS income.

This new addition to the consultation into copyright includes a proposal to replace the current licensing system in the educational sector with a broader free use regime. The licensing fees owed to writers for the copying activities carried out by the education sector flow through ALCS. If legislation accepting this change is passed then fees you currently receive from this source will be lost. 
Obviously, we do not agree with this proposal and it’s vital that a strong case is made to the Government to stop this potential legislation being passed. We must convince them that the income derived from this sector plays a vital part in adequately remunerating the very writers who help to enrich student learning through their writing and that it provides an important incentive to help keep them creating. We believe that this is purely a cost cutting exercise, and not about ‘simplifying copyright’ for either the user or the author".
According to further information on the ALCS website, the sum distributed in respect of educational copying is some £12 million a year. Given that most writers of academic papers receive no payment for their writings from publishers or other sources, the money is a welcome supplement to many researchers' and academics' incomes. Seeking to build an evidence-based case in favour of retaining the status quo, ALCS write:
"If you would like to give any more information about the impact that this change would have on you as a writer, we would be delighted to hear it".
So ,if you're an affected ALCS nember, you know what to do ...

1 comment:

charles oppenheim said...

Has ALCS actually read the Government proposals? It seems not, as it clear from those proposals that any extension to educational copying of literary works would be under "fair dealing" principles, i.e., must not damage the copyright owners' legitimate commercial interests. So why do they think income will be reduced? The more important part of the proposals to extend educational copying relate to non print media types, such as broadcasts and films, and are therefore of no relevance to ALCS.