Secondary licensing can be a valuable source of income, so it is important not to give up those rights
Many cultural heritage organisation picture libraries license their images for re-use in a variety of ways, but may not appreciate the full value of the rights they own.
Have any of your images appeared in a UK published magazine, journal or book? Or been included in a TV broadcast perhaps? These are usually supplied directly under a Primary Licence, for which a fee may or may not be paid. Were you aware that you could claim secondary use royalties, every year, for each one of those images?
Secondary use is included under limited rights to re-use after initial publication, such as content in books and magazines which is regularly, legitimately copied for academic, education, information, research or business purposes. The CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) collects annual blanket licence fees to permit organisations to undertake activities such as photocopying, and it is from this pool that royalties to rights holders are paid. The CLA’s mission is to help customers legally access, copy and share the published content they need, while making sure that copyright owners are paid fair royalties for the use of their work.
Secondary licensing can be a valuable source of income, so it is important not to give up those rights. Some providers of online platforms and services will include in their Terms of Service a clause where you assign those rights to them so before agreeing, ensure that you do not inadvertently sign away your Secondary Rights.
By providing more information, you can claim from the Matched Data fund which is far more valuable, representing a significantly larger pot of funds
How do you claim?
You can simply claim based on an estimate of how many images you have had published in the relevant claim period. However, by providing more information, you can claim from the Matched Data fund which is far more valuable, representing a significantly larger pot of funds. All you need to do is keep a record of every image published or broadcast with the image reference along with the title, ISSN and month of issue for a magazine or the title, ISBN number and year of publication for a book. For a television broadcast you’ll need the name of the programme, the channel and date it was broadcast. Much of this information will already be collected and recorded by picture libraries as part of the Primary Licence.
Claims must be made through a mandated CMO (Collective Management Organisation) each year. The claim is validated and submitted to the CLA around September, and they will determine the royalties owed to you. The CMO will then pay out those royalties, less a small commission. PICSEL, as CMO, pays our royalties, less a 15% fee. Other CMOs may have a different policy.
How much could you get?
The actual amount will vary according to the popularity of the title, number of copies sold or photocopies made and the number of other claimants for that title. Past claims have paid out single images up to £1,700 and individual photographers have received up to £8,290 so it is worth spending some time collecting data and preparing a Matched Data claim. PICSEL can assist members with their claims.
Unmatched data is simply recording how many images have been licensed or used and in how many books or magazines they have appeared, for which you have no record of ISBN or ISSN. Any royalties paid on this basis will be substantially less than Matched Claims, but are still a route to generating income.
PICSEL offers choice, transparency and reward, a not-for-profit Collective Management Organisation committed to taking care of members’ interests and offering a level platform to engage in secondary licensing. For further information and a copy of the Claimant’s Guide, see https://www.picsel.org.uk