Insights Design and Artists Copyright Society publish recommendations for next UK government


The Design and Artists Copyright Society (“DACS”) has recommended three policies that the next government should introduce to support the UK’s visual artists. It states that each can be implemented “at minimal to no cost” but will have a significant effect on supporting visual artists who “need fairer pay and better support structures”.

The first recommendation is for the establishment of the Smart Fund. We have previously commented upon this proposal when it was endorsed by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in its report on Creator Remuneration (see here).  According to its proponents, the Smart Fund is a private copying levy that addresses the current position whereby “the UK royalty system has no available mechanisms to fairly compensate creators when their content is shared and copied on digital devices”. Manufacturers of such devices would be expected to pay a small fraction of the value of each device they sell into a fund which would be paid out by collecting societies to artists, musicians, performers, authors, TV and film directors and other creators. Such mechanisms already exist in dozens of other countries, and the Creative Remuneration report notes that not only does the absence of such a fund in the UK deprive creators of potential income, but it could also make it harder for UK creators to receive funds from foreign private copying schemes due to the lack of reciprocity.

The second recommendation also features in the Creator Remuneration report: the establishment of a Freelancer Commissioner. As the DACS states, the Commissioner “would advocate for the needs and interests of freelance visual artists and creative workers across governmental departments”.

Finally, the DACS argues that “artists must be able to give consent, have control, and be compensated for the use of their works in machine learning and AI training”. It points to research conducted earlier this year (summarised in a report found here) that indicated that the vast majority of UK artists expected to be asked before their work was used to train AI models (and that they should be both credited and compensated when this took place) and that new safeguards and regulation needed to be introduced to address “the rapid evolution of AI technologies”.

To read the manifesto in full, click here.