Payback – the scheme that collects royalties for visual artists and their estates when their work has been reproduced in a book, magazine or on TV – has this year paid out almost £5m. According to DACS, the organisation that collects and distributes the royalties, more artists than ever before have applied to the scheme.

“The staggering increase in claims this year demonstrates the enormous reach of Payback, and the demand for royalties when so many visual artists and their estates are seeing their incomes cut due to financial austerity and reductions in public funding,” said Daniel Rudd, artists’ services manager at DACS.

Payback is open to visual artists and estates for all types of published artwork, from fine art and photography to design and illustration. Royalties come from licences which allow ‘secondary reproductions’ of artwork, such as photocopies of photographs in magazines and books, or the repeat broadcast of TV programmes featuring artists’ work. Individual payments to artists this year ranged from £25 to £5,046.

This year has also seen the setting up of a new Payback membership to formalise the agreement between DACS and Payback applicants, motivated in part by new EU legislation which requires collecting societies to be more accountable, transparent and inclusive.

Rudd added: “With the introduction of Payback membership, we can formally consult with Payback claimants on issues concerning their rights, and importantly, safeguard their existing and future royalties.”

Payback will open again in summer 2015 – see