BAPLA succeeds in growing visual artists’ share of UK collective licensing revenues

BAPLA press release.

BAPLA welcomes the publication of a valuation of rights in content licensed by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and NLA media access (NLA) that increases visual artists’ share of distributed funds.

The valuation process was undertaken by organisations representing publishers, authors, and visual artists, and the determination was made by the independent valuer Mark Bezant of FTI Consulting.

The money at stake consists of the funds raised through sale of licenses for reprographic copying by CLA (approx. £57m pa) and by magazine publishers selling licences through NLA (approx. £3m pa).  Until this year, visual artists had been receiving 8% of CLA funds and no payments from NLA.  Picture agencies are in receipt of a large part of the 8% share, currently distributed via DACS Payback.  BAPLA committed to intense work over 18 months to protect this income on behalf of all visual rights holders including its members, who range from individuals and SME’s to medium and large organisations.

The new formula as published on January 14th is more complex than previously.  Visual artists have gained in sectors where picture agencies have a strong presence.  There are now 11 different categories of rights covering magazines (10% goes to visual artists), journals (only 1% goes to VAs) and books for different sectors, largest of which is schools (16% to VAs).  In the long-term we expect picture agencies may have to present more detailed information about different types of usage and that funds may be distributed in line with this division.

The total amount payable to visual artists will vary year by year as CLA and NLA license revenue varies by sector.  Based on 2014/2015 collections the amount would have been 8.7%, which is equivalent to 17% growth over the previous system.   BAPLA is pleased, not only to have avoided the possibility of a cut in revenues, but to have succeeded in growing them for the benefit of our members and all visual artists.

BAPLA was represented by board member Toby Hopkins of Getty Images and consultant John Robinson who produced a number of submissions to the arbiter jointly with ACS who were represented by Jeremy Silver. BAPLA wishes to thank the representatives of authors (ALCS) and publishers (PLS) for their open approach to the valuation, and was pleased to work with DACS, the other representative of visual artists in the process.  Special thanks are due to the BAPLA members who contributed to the members’ survey.  Evidence from this was crucial to several key issues within the determination.

The valuation involved research into two key questions: what is the comparative value of text versus images in material copied under license; and who owns the rights in that content?  On the first question, licensees in schools and colleges confirmed the importance of images in education.  On the second question, barrister Gwilym Harbottle, analysed a sample of contracts and confirmed that picture agencies retained relevant rights in images licensed to publishers.

This valuation exercise provides a settlement for the long-term.  It will be subject to review in sections over 10 years from 2018, with magazines, the first sector critical for BAPLA members, not due to be reviewed until 2021.

BAPLA Director Toby Hopkins commented:  “The positive outcome of the valuation for all visual artists is in part due to the diligent work of our members in protecting photographers’ rights when licensing images to publishers.  We urge picture agencies to continue to limit the rights granted in their standard terms and conditions and not to give away those rights in contract negotiations.”

The new collective licensing organisation PICSEL commented:  “We want to thank our BAPLA colleagues for their hard work.   It will be more worthwhile than ever for agencies to claim collective licensing funds – and the photographers they represent stand to be the major winners.  PICSEL will build on the work already done to make it easy and rewarding for agencies to claim their fair share.

Further information:
– Powerpoint slides to show the key tables in the report
Joint press release
The full 200-page determination