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CLA celebrates 40 years with key stakeholders at the British Library

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) celebrated its 40th anniversary in style with over 100 key stakeholders at the iconic British Library on Wednesday 6 September.

The reception was held in King’s Gallery Library, a hidden gem within the British Library, which houses a remarkable collection of rare manuscripts and historical texts. The event brought together guests from our member organisations (ALCS, PLS, DACS and PICSEL), publishing houses, government, NHS, higher education and other key partners to network, share stories, and celebrate CLA’s remarkable journey over the past four decades. Also in attendance was ALCS president and founder, Maureen Duffy, notable contemporary British poet, playwright and novelist who has spent her life actively campaigning to protect the rights of writers in times of technological change.

The evening featured guided tours of the British Library’s Treasures gallery, where guests had the opportunity to view some of the world’s most priceless literary artefacts, including the Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, and original manuscripts by William Shakespeare.

The highlight of the event included speeches delivered by CLA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mat Pfleger, and the organisation’s two Co-Chairs, Rosie Glazebrook and Tom Chatfield.

Rosie Glazebrook, Co-Chair of CLA, emphasised the significance of CLA’s 40th anniversary celebration, recognising the organisation’s dedication, innovation, and its vital role in safeguarding intellectual property rights. She expressed gratitude for the strong partnerships and collaborations with authors, creators, publishers, policymakers, and technology partners that have been instrumental in CLA’s ongoing success.

Mat Pfleger, CEO of CLA, highlighted the importance of collaboration and adaptation over CLA’s 40-year journey, acknowledging the challenges and successes in balancing the needs of rightsholders and content users. He also discussed CLA’s principles for copyright and generative AI, highlighting the evolving landscape of copyright in the era of AI.

Tom Chatfield, Co-Chair of CLA and Chair of ALCS, concluded with a speech centred on the importance of trust and transparency in the digital age, particularly concerning the rise of AI technology. He highlighted the importance of safeguarding and defending the creative industries and acknowledged human creativity as central to the value of written and artistic works.

As CLA looks to the future, it remains dedicated to supporting the creative communities, ensuring that published content is used responsibly, ethically, and with the utmost respect for the rights of creators and publishers. With a rich history and a commitment to adaptability, CLA looks forward to continued success in the ever-evolving landscape of copyright and licensing.

Watch the speeches by Rosie Glazebrook, Mat Pfleger and Tom Chatfield in our event video: