Accessibility statement

Copyright licences

Library, Archives & Learning Services are responsible for the administration of a number of copyright licences held by the University.

Licensing agencies collect revenues for rights-holders by charging a licence fee, per user or per transaction.

Authorised users may copy and re-use protected material under the terms of the licence. In most cases, all staff and students of the University are 'authorised users'.

Copies made under licence should incorporate a terms of use statement, and it may be necessary to log each instance of copying for audit purposes.

CLA Higher Education Licence

Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence

The CLA licenses the distribution of reading material to students in photocopied or digital form. Module leaders and tutors are encouraged to use the Library's Digitisation Service, in order to ensure compliance with licence terms. 

"The Licence grants permission (subject to terms and conditions) to copy extracts from text and still images from most printed books, journals and magazines published in the UK and many published overseas, and from many digital publications.

All income from licence fees, less a small administration fee, is then paid back to rightsholders (publishers, authors and visual creators).

  • You can make copies for registered students and members of staff, in connection with a specific course or module.
  • You can copy up to one chapter from a book, or one article from a magazine or journal - or 10% of the total publication, whichever is the greater.
  • You should make copies only from publications owned or subscribed to by your HEI - or from 'copyright fee paid' copies obtained from, for example, the British Library.
  • Digital copies must be protected by 'Secure Authentication', and not placed on the public internet.
  • All digital copies should incorporate a Copyright Notice, stating the Course of Study [module] for which the copy has been made.
  • Digital copies... are subject to cyclical reporting and management requirements.

The current licence is effective until 31 July 2019."

Adapted from CLA Higher Education Licence: Quick Guide for Academic Staff (2018)

For more information, see the Library's guide to Making copies for students.

Further limits to the CLA HE Licence

  • Not all publishers have authorised the CLA to collect royalties on their behalf. The CLA maintains a database of excluded titles (Check Permissions here), and a directory of publishers and territories covered by the Licence.
  • The licence does not cover printed music, maps, newspapers or unpublished works such as dissertations and manuscripts.
  • Although any edition of a textbook may be copied, creating a substitute text comprising chapters taken from different editions is prohibited.
  • Where an item is photocopied, the number of copies made should not exceed the number of students and tutors on the course concerned.

Universities can copy small extracts from material which is excluded from the CLA Licence, under the provision of a 2014 amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

Copying and Use by…  Educational Establishments


Over a period of 12 months, an institution can copy a maximum of 5% of a copyright work to distribute to students and staff for the purposes of instruction. Bear in mind that this exception may not be sufficient to copy a book chapter or journal article in its entirety, and a copy of another extract from the same work used for a different module will be in breach of copyright.

University of York staff are advised not to rely on this exception to copy course reading.  When a work is excluded from the CLA Licence, it may be possible to obtain permission directly from the rights-holder: the Library's Reading List team provides a Permissions Clearance Service for lecturers.

Educational Recording

ERA Licence (Educational Recording Agency)

The University's ERA Licence permits staff and students to make use of recorded output (TV and radio programmes; films) from broadcasters who are ERA members, for non-commercial educational purposes.  

A recording may be accessed in any of these formats:

  • on-demand TV (such as BBC iPlayer) on the broadcaster's own platform  
  • streamed content from the Box of Broadcasts subscription service for educational institutions
  • a DVD from the Library's Audiovisual Collection, screened in the classroom or made available to University students via a secure network limited to authorised users, such as the Yorkshare VLE.

At present, networked access is licensed only for users in the UK, although ERA is consulting HE representatives about this restriction.

This guide from ERA provides more information about channels covered by the Licence, and FAQs about the terms and conditions:


To copy material from broadcasters who are not covered by the ERA Licence, universities can refer to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

Recording of broadcasts


When no licence is available, an educational establishment can record a broadcast to use for teaching purposes, and upload it to a secure network such as a VLE, fully attributed.

Newspaper Licensing

NLA Education Establishment Licence (Newspaper Licensing Agency)

The University holds an Education Establishment Basic Licence, plus additional cover for media monitoring activities undertaken by the Press Office.

The Basic Licence provides cover for reproduction of cuttings from both the printed and online versions of most UK national newspapers, plus five regional newspapers.  Permitted acts on behalf of University students and staff include:

  • Creating a digital copy by scanning from print
  • Printing an extract from an online newspaper
  • Inclusion of cuttings in study packs
  • Circulation of digital cuttings by email, on an intranet or as hyperlinks

The NLA Media Licence defines a cutting as:

a. an article, report, artistic work, photograph, advertisement or other item in an NLA Newspaper, or
b. a copy of the whole or part (including the headline) of such an article, report, artistic work, photograph or other item.

Find out more:

Distributed cuttings should include the notice: "NLA licensed copy. No further copies may be made except under licence".

TV Licences

Do I need a TV Licence to watch BBC iPlayer in the Library, classrooms and lecture theatres?

The University TV licence lets staff and students watch the following content in classrooms, lecture theatres, the Library etc. So you don't need a TV licence to watch in a study or teaching space on campus.


The University TV Licence covers the following:

  • All TV channels, like BBC, ITV, Channel 4
  • Pay TV services, like Sky, Virgin Media and BT
  • Live TV on streaming services, like YouTube and Amazon Prime Video
  • Everything on BBC iPlayer.
  • This includes recording and downloading. On any device.

There are different rules for your accommodation.

Campus accommodation:
  • If you live in Campus accommodation and there is a television in the kitchen or common space, this is paid for by the university.
  • If you live in Campus accommodation and want to watch BBC iPlayer or live TV on a television, computer, or other device in your own room, you’ll need to buy a TV licence.
Private accommodation:
  • House or flat share with separate tenancy agreement – you’ll need to be covered by your own TV licence.
  • Property with joint tenancy – you’ll need one TV licence to cover the whole place.

Other Licences

The University does not hold any other copyright licences for the whole institution. Colleges, departments and student societies may need to make their own arrangements to license activities which would otherwise infringe copyright.

Filmbank licences and the Motion Picture Licensing Company

A licence is required to screen a film in an extra-curricular context such as a college common room, or for an audience not solely made up of University staff and students, such as a public lecture.

Filmbank's Single Title Screening Licence or annual Public Video Screening Licence may be appropriate for the above scenarios.  The MPLC's Movie Licence may be necessary if an admission fee is charged.

PPL Licence and PRS for Music Licence  

Both of these licences are required to play recorded music in public, in an extra-curricular context such as a college bar or departmental social event. This includes using the radio, CDs, internet streaming and music on television.

A public performance is considered to be anywhere outside of a domestic environment in front of an audience, which can be one person.

The PPL (historically, Phonographic Performance Ltd) acts on behalf of record companies and performers.  PRS for Music Ltd (formerly the Performing Right Society) acts on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers.