Understanding copyright and photocopying

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The CLA Higher Education Licence permits the copying of extracts from books, journals and magazines in print or digital format including copying content from some free-to-view websites. The licence is issued annually and provides easy access to millions of copyright works. The following is an abridged section of what can and cannot be copied from:


What can be copied?

Our CLA Higher Education Licence provides you with a wide range of permissions to help support teaching and learning at your HEI and allowing you to make full use of your print and electronic collections.  The CLA HE Licence does this by allowing you to:

  • Photocopy books, journals and magazines published in the UK and 33 other countries giving your HEI access to a wide choice of published information.
  • Make digital copies by scanning for distribution to students from titles published in the UK and 17 other countries.
  • Make copies of content from a wide range of digital material such as online magazines, eBooks and certain website materials.
  • Use copies with digital whiteboards, VLEs and Microsoft PowerPoint programs.
  • Copy photographs, illustrations, charts or diagrams where they are included in an article or an extract.

How much can be copied?

You can reproduce extracts of up to one chapter or article, or 5% of the whole (whichever is the greater); where proportions can’t be identified (e.g. websites), estimate an extract of a fair and reasonable length.

Indemnity is also included as standard, provided an HEI has acted within the Terms and Conditions of their Licence, so HEIs have peace of mind that they will be covered to copy from any title (books, journals, magazines) except those that are specifically excluded.

Digital Material Publishers

The HE Licence covers the re-use of digital original material and these rights are granted by publishers on an ‘opt-in’ basis.

Please refer to the list of Participating Digital Material Publishers for the Higher Education Licence to check whether copying from a particular publication is permitted.

International Territories

Current agreements permit CLA licensees to copy titles published in certain countries outside the United Kingdom.

Search by title

You can simply check permissions for a title (or ISBN/ISSN/web domain) to know if you are permitted to copy from a particular publication.

What can’t be copied?

The CLA Licence covers millions of titles encompassing printed books, magazines and journals as well as digital original material such as electronic, online publications and certain website material, but there are some categories and individual works which are excluded and therefore cannot be copied at all under the CLA Licence.

Excluded categories

There are particular categories that are generally not covered by CLA Licences. Click on the list of categories below for a further information about where to get a separate licence or permission

  • Printed music (including the works)
  • Maps, charts
  • Newspapers
  • Newspaper Licensing Agency
  • Workbooks, workcard and assignment sheets (you will need to contact the publisher directly)
  • Any work which the copyright owner has expressly excluded

Excluded Works

Some categories of published works, as well as some specific works by individual authors, artists and publishers, are excluded.