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DACS - accurate information please


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Presumably my share of DACS TV claim - I can't claim myself because I do not know the channel/programme details as they are withheld by Alamy.

 

Other income 44.85 0.00 44.85

 

 

If so I would prefer to be told how much the overall claim was worth for my TV uses and how much Alamy have retained as their share. 

 

I think that there is an Admin fee and then the remainder is split 50-50.

 

Why isn't this shown in the sales report? Or has Alamy genuinely not taken any deduction?

 

Or is this some other sort of income that Alamy doesn't take a share from. Such as? I would like to know.

Edited by geogphotos
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm raising this again because there hasn't been a response.

 

We all value the way that Alamy bases its relationship with contributors on honesty and respect. So:

 

1) Why is the total amount received from DACs for each contributor's claim not reported in our Accounts? Is Alamy's share 50% after any admin fee deduction?

 

2) Why is any Admin fee not reported in our accounts, how much is this, how is it calculated, and what is it for - why doesn't Alamy's commission share cover work on this?

 

3) If this information cannot be revealed in our Accounts could we please know the reasons?

 

Thanks

Edited by geogphotos
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Hi Ian,

 

Currently the admin costs work out roughly to be around £1 per contributor, we then split the royalties 50/50.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

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1 hour ago, Alamy said:

Hi Ian,

 

Currently the admin costs work out roughly to be around £1 per contributor, we then split the royalties 50/50.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

 

 

Thanks a lot. Is there a reason why the gross amount isn't shown in our Accounts the same as all other types of contributor revenue?

 

An additional question. Has there been any thought about supplying contributors who have opted out with ISBN/ISSN information, (also TV usage information)? Without the ISBN/ISSN information a lot of money goes unclaimed which benefits nobody. This would provide your suppliers with additional financial support without any costs to yourself ( even if you retain the TV claim). 

Edited by geogphotos
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9 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

Thanks a lot. Is there a reason why the gross amount isn't shown in our Accounts the same as all other types of contributor revenue?

 

An additional question. Has there been any thought about supplying contributors who have opted out with ISBN/ISSN information, (also TV usage information)? Without the ISBN/ISSN information a lot of money goes unclaimed which benefits nobody. This would provide your suppliers with additional financial support without any costs to yourself ( even if you retain the TV claim). 

 

It's not inputted as a normal sale so the deductions are made and then it's put into your account - the split is 50/50 though so Alamy gets the same amount as you plus an additional (approx) £1 per claim to cover the admin costs.

 

We can't provide the ISBN / ISSN's for a whole range of reasons - some for confidentiality but mainly because we don't always have them or have them in a format where it's easily shareable. Lots of the admin cost that goes into claiming those who are opted in is taken up by researching and trying to obtain this info.

 

Alamy

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13 minutes ago, Alamy said:

 

It's not inputted as a normal sale so the deductions are made and then it's put into your account - the split is 50/50 though so Alamy gets the same amount as you plus an additional (approx) £1 per claim to cover the admin costs.

 

We can't provide the ISBN / ISSN's for a whole range of reasons - some for confidentiality but mainly because we don't always have them or have them in a format where it's easily shareable. Lots of the admin cost that goes into claiming those who are opted in is taken up by researching and trying to obtain this info.

 

Alamy

 

1 hour ago, Alamy said:

Hi Ian,

 

Currently the admin costs work out roughly to be around £1 per contributor, we then split the royalties 50/50.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

 

 

 

 

Can you clarify, as the 2 answers are different.  Is it £1 per contributor  or £1 per claim?

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18 minutes ago, Alamy said:

 

It's not inputted as a normal sale so the deductions are made and then it's put into your account - the split is 50/50 though so Alamy gets the same amount as you plus an additional (approx) £1 per claim to cover the admin costs.

 

We can't provide the ISBN / ISSN's for a whole range of reasons - some for confidentiality but mainly because we don't always have them or have them in a format where it's easily shareable. Lots of the admin cost that goes into claiming those who are opted in is taken up by researching and trying to obtain this info.

 

Alamy

 

I will happily pay £1 admin fee for this information.  😁

Edited by geogphotos
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Regardless of whether or not it is "inputted as a normal sale", deductions have been made. So why the value of 0.00 for deductions, on a formal statement of account?


"Currently the admin costs work out roughly to be around £1 per contributor..."
If this is the "current" deduction, can you give an indication of what it was in the past? This information has been withheld for several years, and charges change. Thank you.

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It works out as roughly £1 per contributor we claim for - has always been so - please don't read any more into the "current" wording than that as there is no hidden agenda / story!

 

51 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

I will happily pay £1 admin fee for this information.  😁

 

Needless to say it doesn't work in as simple a way as you may perhaps imagine. This information is not easily identifiable or shareable in a format that we can provide on a case by case basis. It's a big project and process, takes months and costs tens of thousands of pounds in total - in addition to that there are confidentiality clauses within certain buyer contracts as we mentioned earlier.

 

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I want to echo the point made by DJ Myford above. My understanding is that the gross income generated by image licences is the contributor's - because it is the contributor's images that are being licensed. The contributor then 'pays' Alamy a commission fee. It might seem as though it doesn't matter but that is the way I think it is. In which case all income coming to contributors should be clearly accounted for along with all payments to Alamy from the contributor's account. 

 

It is only comparatively recently that Alamy has 'muscled in' on this DACS income stream. There really are questions in my mind about the ethics of it all and the fairness of a system where the holder of information has a vested financial interest in not passing it on. Fair enough if a contributor requests Alamy to act on their behalf but that choice no longer exists in the contract. 

 

How important this income is to Alamy I don't know but it strikes me as an area where there is the opportunity to show contributors goodwill. It is after all money that is intended as a reward for creator not agents. 

 

My direct DACS claim earned me over £2000 this time. Clearly it would be a nonsense for me to split that 50-50 with Alamy. So the result is that I do not find out about ISBN/ISSN information that I need and that money which I am entitled to for past sales is left unclaimed. 

 

As my Alamy income declines year after year the DACS income becomes ever more important to me being able to carry on. 

 

Thanks to Alamy for their answers here.

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Just want to add something to this. Saying that the average admin charge is $1 isn't really much help when you have 160,000 contributors.

 

What each of us, I feel, is entitled to know, is how much we are each being charged. Is that really too much to ask? 

 

There was also a significant change in 2020. In the past every claimant was topped up to £25 and that stopped happening in 2020. So there will have been a very large number of very low claims and not surprisingly a lot of very low admin charges. 

 

Even so $1 each for all contributors claimed for (apart from the few opt-outs) seems like a good earner, and then 50% of everything! 

 

I feel that there is still too much that is opaque about this.

Edited by geogphotos
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Hi Ian,

 

Not sure how we can be any clearer on this - when we look at the costs involved in additional resource to process the yearly claim and divide it by the number of claims it costs very close to £1 per contributor claimed for. This may slightly vary year on year but for all previous years it has run to very close to £1.

 

Like many other agencies - we submit a DACS claim for the licences we issue and DACS work with us very closely on this.

 

This is a contractual obligation to working with us. For all those who were with us prior to this change coming in, we gave everyone the option to opt-out. 

 

There is nothing further to add from our side during this thread.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

 

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2 hours ago, Alamy said:

Hi Ian,

 

Not sure how we can be any clearer on this - when we look at the costs involved in additional resource to process the yearly claim and divide it by the number of claims it costs very close to £1 per contributor claimed for. This may slightly vary year on year but for all previous years it has run to very close to £1.

 

Like many other agencies - we submit a DACS claim for the licences we issue and DACS work with us very closely on this.

 

This is a contractual obligation to working with us. For all those who were with us prior to this change coming in, we gave everyone the option to opt-out. 

 

There is nothing further to add from our side during this thread.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

 

 

 

Thanks but you seem to be missing my point. 

 

When money is taken from my account I would expect to be told:

 

1) What the gross amount is that has come in and the source

 

2) What any deduction is for

 

2) How much is being taken

 

That seems entirely reasonable to me.  At the moment that is not happening in relation to DACS payments. 

 

But thanks again for your answers.

Edited by geogphotos
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On 16/11/2020 at 13:04, Alamy said:

It's not inputted as a normal sale so the deductions are made and then it's put into your account - the split is 50/50 though so Alamy gets the same amount as you plus an additional (approx) £1 per claim to cover the admin costs.

 

If the £1 per claim covers all Alamy's admin costs, what's is the 50% used for? Does it just go added to the sales revenue "pot" to help keep the business profitable? It's quite a large commission if costs are already covered.

 

I agree with Ian, it seems likely that Alamy and contributors are missing out on revenue. I've found some ISBN and ISSN numbers and I claim for those. But it's likely that Alamy knows more ISBNs ISSNs than I do, and these are not being claimed for. I understand why Alamy may not wish to share those ISBN/ISSN nos with us (confidentiality and potential loss of 50% DACS revenue). But, what about looking at this the other way around?

 

I'd probably let Alamy claim on my behalf if I knew how many ISBNs ISSNs nos they can find for my sales and it was then clear to me it was significantly more (e.g. over 2x more) than I've found. If it only costs £1 in admin / contributor, why not try enticing those contributors, who are claiming independently, to claim through Alamy by letting them know how many ISSNs/ISBNs you can find for their sales? We could potentially both make more money that way. I'd also share the ISBNs I've found to add to the collection.

 

But I'd only let Alamy claim on my behalf if;

a) It was clear that Alamy has found many more ISSN/ISBN numbers than me.

b) The contract contains an exit clause, such that if Alamy increased their commission above 50% or increased the admin fee, I have the option of going back to making an independent DACS claim.

 

Mark

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

what's is the 50% used for?

Er, it's the sales commission. Just like the one on licences.

 

15 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

I'd probably let Alamy claim on my behalf if I knew how many ISBNs ISSNs nos they can find for my sales and it was then clear to me it was significantly more (e.g. over 2x more) than I've found.

Alamy did send out an email about this- probably around the time they were removing the opt-out- they were obviously canvassing for opt-ins. IIRC a figure was given for the number if items Alamy could claim for. It was only a few more than I knew about myself (maybe 15%) so I concluded it couldn't possibly make up for 50% commission, so I stayed out.

If I find it I'll put it up.

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52 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Er, it's the sales commission. Just like the one on licences.

 

Alamy did send out an email about this- probably around the time they were removing the opt-out- they were obviously canvassing for opt-ins. IIRC a figure was given for the number if items Alamy could claim for. It was only a few more than I knew about myself (maybe 15%) so I concluded it couldn't possibly make up for 50% commission, so I stayed out.

If I find it I'll put it up.

 

But the business of a stock agency is to make money from licensing rights to users on behalf of the photographer. Every image licensed has already attracted an agency commission for the first rights. After that the production of the book/magazine/TV programme is nothing at all to do with the agent. Indeed, Alamy says that they don't even know the ISBN/ISSN numbers such is their level of removal from the process. 

 

DACS is about payment of secondary rights paid by licence holders in schools, colleges, libraries etc for use not covered by the initial purchase price of the book or other product. Again the process of issuing that licence and managing the uses has nothing at all to do with the stock photography agency. It would actually make more logical sense for the publishers to be looking for payment for secondary rights than the stock agency. 

 

Yes, Getty moved into this and didn't give any options to their contributors - a payment just appears. But hardly in itself a justification. It is also worth pointing out that other stock agencies don't take the same attitude and support their photographers in making direct claims but don't themselves put in an agency claim.

 

So I'd say that Mark's question is a very pertinent one. I'd think that the answer is that they do it because they can and every business is looking for additional income streams. 

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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Worth remembering though that probably for the majority of Alamy's contributors this is a very welcome windfall that they didn't know anything about before Alamy started claiming on their behalf. And to them it seems like money for nothing. So Alamy would certainly have the majority agreeing with what they do. 

 

I'd just like the payments to be recorded in Accounts in the way I suggested. But it isn't the end of the world......

Edited by geogphotos
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22 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Er, it's the sales commission. Just like the one on licences.

 

Yes of course. But most of the commission on image licence sales is consumed by the business costs associated with selling those licences, i.e. not much profit. But, if £1 / contributor covers the incremental costs of making a DACS claim on a contributor's behalf, the rest (i.e. the 50%) appears to be pure profit.. Quite a high margin activity methinks? In which case I think Alamy could revisit this "opportunity" to see if they can pursuade more contributors to join the scheme by supplying them with information about the number of ISBN/ISSN nos they can find for their sales. It would be a shame if there's a lot more of the DACS pot that could be claimed by Alamy and their contributors but currently isn't.

 

21 hours ago, geogphotos said:

So I'd say that Mark's question is a very pertinent one. I'd think that the answer is that they do it because they can and every business is looking for additional income streams. 

 

Indeed.

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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I would certainly be willing to pay a reasonable fee to have Alamy's expert researchers provide me with a comprehensive list of usages in books, mags and TV. But I would expect that Alamy finds it quite useful to keep us opters-out at arms length so as to encourage les autres to accept the status quo. 

 

Fees for secondary rights are going to become more and more significant as the fees for primary rights continue to spiral downwards. At the other place I contribute the fees are pathetic but the volume is way ahead of Alamy - and each of those magazine and book uses is worth it even if the sale is for pennies because of the DACs claim mounting up year after year.

Edited by geogphotos
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