Getting your copyright right

You may have noticed when you print, photocopy or scan material at City, that there is a guidance notice displayed next to the multi-functional device (MFD) you use.

Poster displayed above a printer/copier device (MFD).

This guidance notice is issued by the Copyright Licencing Agency (CLA).

What is the CLA?

The CLA is a Rights Reproduction Organisation (RRO). This means that it pays royalties to authors, artists and other creators who own the copyright in their works, for copying and other uses of their content.

The funds for these royalty payments come from money that institutions (like City) pay to have a special licence for copying – this is then distributed to rightsholders. The CLA offers licences for organisations such as universities, schools, businesses, government, and the NHS.

The CLA licence which City has enables staff and students at City to copy from resources for non-commercial educational and research purposes.

Why is the CLA licence and guidance important?

Although UK copyright legislation (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) does allow some copying to take place for certain purposes without permission from the rightsholders (see the Copyright Guide for details), the CLA licence allows for an even greater amount to be copied at no legal risk, as long as the terms of the licence are followed.

The guidance notice positioned next to the MFDs explains what and how much can be copied under the terms of this licence: by reading the guidance notice you can be confident in knowing that you’re printing, photocopying or scanning material appropriately.

Every few years the guidance notice is updated to reflect any changes to the CLA licence. In readiness for the new academic year, all departments have been sent laminated copies of the new notice to be put up by their MFDs, and asked to dispose of the old one.

Need more help with copyright?

Further guidance, together with some copyright tips for teaching, is available from the Copyright at City, University of London webpage on the Library Services website, City’s Copyright Guide, or directly from me, Stephen Penton, Copyright Librarian here at City.

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