After a packed two days at the 2018 CILIP Conference, we thought we’d give you a rundown of common questions we get, and a few of our favourite copyright-related queries too.
We had an excellent two days answering your questions at the CILIP Conference last week, as well as handing out jellybeans to give tired delegates a much-needed sugar fix. For those who couldn’t make it all the way to sunny Brighton for the conference, didn’t get the chance to ask us something, or are just curious about what people ask CLA about, we’ve made a list of some commonly (and not-so-commonly) asked questions!
If you find this blog interesting and want to submit a question for a second round, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that this blog is for guidance only and does not substitute the Terms and Conditions of your Licence, or constitute legal advice. In an event of a conflict between this blog and your Licence Terms and Conditions, the latter shall prevail. If you have an issue relating to your licence specifically, please get in touch with us.
1. ‘What is CLA?’
The very simple answer is this: we offer licences that allow customers to copy extracts from published content, without having to seek the permission from the rightsholder that is often necessary under copyright law. We also offer other services as well. Have a look here for the full explanation.
2. ‘Are you really not-for-profit?’
CLA is indeed not-for-profit. After our operating costs have been deducted—the money from our customers’ licence fees is paid back to authors, publishers, and visual artists as royalties. You can learn more about who receives royalties here.
3. ‘How do you pay writers and publishers?’
We pay royalties to writers, publishers, and visual artists. We do this by collecting information from customers about what they’re copying, which helps us pay royalties to the rightsholders whose work is being used.
We then distribute money to our four member organisations—the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, Publishers’ Licensing Services, the Design and Artists Copyright Society, and PICSEL. These organisations are then responsible for allocating royalties to individual rightsholders.
4. ‘Do I have to tell you everything my organisation copies?’
You don’t have to tell us everything your organisation copies. However, we might sometimes ask you to participate in a Royalties Data Exercise. This is where we’ll ask you to tell us what you copy over a set period of time. If this happens, we’ll let you know how to tell us what you’re copying and answer any questions you have. Royalties Data Exercises are important for calculating what licensees are copying, helping us to distribute royalties fairly.
5. ‘How can I find out if my organisation has a licence?’
If your organisation is part of the NHS or Central Government, or is an educational institution, you may have a CLA Licence through a centrally funded agreement. If you have a look on our main menu and navigate to the applicable sector, you should be able to find out if you have a licence this way.
If you don’t think you’re licensed through a central agreement or are unsure, contact us directly via email at email@example.com, or call us on 020 7400 3151.
6. ‘Do you offer training for customers?’
If you are covered by our Education Licence, we offer a range of training about the licence and our other services, depending on what’s applicable to you. We can do training for academic and/or library staff, and we can do this in-person or via a webinar. If you’re interested in this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
If you are covered by a Business Licence and would like training, it’s best to get in touch with us directly to talk about what you need. Queries should go to email@example.com.
If you are covered by a Public Sector Licence, again, it’s best to get in touch with us directly. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you need.
7. ‘Does the UK have Fair Dealing or Fair Use when it comes to copyright?’
We have Fair Dealing in the UK. It is different from the US concept of Fair Use in that Fair Use is a doctrine that the courts use to decide whether the use of a work infringes copyright or not. In UK law, certain exceptions to copyright—such as for Non-Commercial Research and Private Study—only apply if the use is Fair Dealing.
There is no statutory definition of Fair Dealing; it will always be a matter-of-fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work? It is a matter of opinion, but it’s possible that Fair Dealing in UK law has meant that over the years far fewer areas of potential copyright infringement have had to be tested in court than in the US, saving users and rightsholders a lot of legal hassle.
You can find out more about Fair Dealing in the UK here.
8. ‘If my institution owns a copy of a book or journal but can’t access it for some reason, am I allowed to ask another institution to supply a scan for us instead?’
Yes, you’re allowed to outsource your scanning under a CLA Licence. As long as your organisation owns a copy of the original work, it’s fine to get a scan made elsewhere.
9. ‘Someone told me that his publisher had said that if he needed to use an image in his book but didn’t know who’d taken the photo, it was fine to use it without permission. Is this true?’
Copyright still applies if you don’t know who owns the rights to a work. Works where you can’t find the rightsholder are known as ‘orphan works’. You’ll need to search as diligently as you can to find the rightsholder if you’d like to use the work. If this isn’t successful, you can apply for an Orphan Works Licence from the Intellectual Property Office. However, it may be easier to simply find an alternative work that you can licence for use.
You can learn more about using others’ images here.
10. ‘My company wants to publish materials online, how do we make sure we’re protected by copyright?’
In the UK, copyright exists automatically once a work that qualifies for protection is committed to a fixed form. You do not need to register a work or declare that it’s yours to retain the rights to it. However, you can declare your ownership of it if you wish; this might serve as a deterrent to people who would use it without permission, and makes it clear who owns the work. This isn’t a legal necessity, however.