Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA)


  The CLA is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It has two members, themselves also not-for-profit companies: the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society Ltd (ALCS); and the Publishers Licensing Society Ltd (PLS). Together with the Design and Artists' Copyright Society Ltd (DACS), which has a contractual arrangement with CLA, ALCS and PLS represent the owners and other holders of copyright in most books, journals, magazines and periodicals published in the United Kingdom.


  In 1977, the Whitford Report (Cmnd 6732) into the law of copyright and designs recommended that photocopying from books and journals should be licensed by a collecting society controlled by rightsholders themselves. Following extensive discussions between organisations representing authors and publishers, CLA was incorporated in 1982. The government's own implementation of the Whitford recommendations came with the enactment in 1988 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.


  CLA issues blanket licences which authorise the photocopying and (increasingly) scanning of extracts from books, journals and periodicals. Consultation and negotiation with both user groups and rightsholders precedes the issue of any new class of licence, with the aim of ensuring that licences meet the reasonable needs of users consistent with respect for the principles of copyright and without adversely affecting the economic viability of the original publication (or its commercial successors). Licensees are restricted to copying a maximum amount of a given work, typically either five percent of the publication, or one chapter, or in the case of a periodical, one, sometimes two, articles from any issue, in connection with any single purpose (such as, in an educational context, a course of study or, in a commercial or research context, any occasion). Multiple copies (eg class sets) of the same extract are permitted. Generally copies are restricted to internal use within the licensed organisation although there are exceptions such as document supply and press cuttings (see below).


  Licensees are authorised to copy from any book, journal, magazine or periodical published in the United Kingdom, apart from a very few exceptions which are notified in advance. Where CLA (or its member organisations) do not have the formal authority from the copyright holder, the licensee remains authorised by CLA which itself indemnifies the licensee. This approach was noted and approved by the Government in its 1986 White Paper, "Intellectual Property and Innovation" (Cmnd 9712), and given statutory force in the form of section 136 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


  The CLA licence covers books, journals, magazines and periodicals published in paper format but not, currently, any electronic product such as CD-Rom or on-line publications. Such digital products include an accompanying licence to authorise normal usage; this "primary sale licence" can be adapted to meet user requirements. Paper editions require no such primary sale licence, hence a CLA licence is required to cover any uses not permitted under any statutory exception to copyright.


  Many foreign works may also be copied under a CLA licence, by virtue of reciprocal agreements between CLA and similar organisations in other countries. Organisations like CLA are known as Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs) and most are members of IFRRO, the International Federation of RROs. IFRRO maintains close links with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The CLA Chief Executive is currently the President of IFRRO.


  CLA has licensed the entire UK education sector, most Government departments, many public bodies including the NHS and most research-intensive industries of which the most significant sector is the pharmaceutical sector.

  Recent changes to copyright law as a result of the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC by SI 2498 of 2003 mean that most commercial organisations carrying out any photocopying or scanning from published works (even for research if for a commercial purpose) will now require a CLA licence.


  CLA has licensed the British Library and other document supply organisations and libraries permitting the supply of documents to third parties at rates set by the copyright holder. CLA has also licensed Press Cuttings Agencies to supply copies (in hard copy or electronic form) of cuttings from magazines, periodicals and journals to their clients. These clients may make further copies for internal circulation with their own CLA Licence.


  Over £200m has been distributed by CLA to copyright holders since its establishment. Fee distribution is determined by the results of a programme of surveys and other data collection exercises. Many authors and publishers of the most widely-copied material are in the academic, research and not-for-profit sectors and CLA's licences are part of a significant transfer of resources from the commercial to the academic sectors.

February 2004

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