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CLA turns 40!

CLA 40th Anniversary

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). It was established in 1983 as a joint venture between Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS) and Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and has since expanded its membership to include the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) and the Picture Industry Collective Society for Effective Licensing (PICSEL).

Over the past four decades, CLA has earned a reputation for excellence and innovation in rights and licensing, generating over £1.5bn in collective licensing revenues that have been distributed to over 200,000 authors, publishers, and visual artists. The work that CLA does is essential to the creative ecosystem.

CLA licences facilitate the efficient reuse of content by 12.7 million students and over 9.5 million employees in over 40,000 schools, universities and organisations across the UK. With over 40 international agreements, CLA provides lawful and simple access to over 8 million print and online publications.

CLA has adapted over time as technology and the needs of rightsholders and licensees have changed. CLA has developed digital tools such as Check Permissions, Digital Content Store, and Education Platform to keep our licences and services relevant in a fast-changing environment while ensuring fair returns for copyright owners.

The success of CLA is a testament to the hard work and dedication of its employees, its members and board who have helped the company thrive and generate record-breaking revenues for rightsholders for four decades.

To mark this milestone and showcase its history, achievements, and future plans, CLA will be launching a refreshed brand and new website in 2023. In the summer, there will be a small number of special events for employees, customers, and partners to celebrate 40 years of helping organisations do the right thing and copy, right.

What the CLA team has to say about our 40th anniversary

Mat Pfleger, CLA CEO said:

“The importance and value of the creative industries to delivering a vibrant and competitive UK economy cannot be underestimated. CLA has demonstrated over the last forty years that copyright licensing is able to adapt to technological change, support innovation and play a vital role in connecting content users to content creators in an efficient and fair way. Whether the content user in future is a person or a machine, creators rights must always be respected and compensated appropriately.”


Jo Revill, CLA Co-Chair and Chair of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, which represents more than 117,000 authors and writers, said:

“The importance of the creative industries to the UK is clear and we are part of an ecosystem which strengthens the whole of society. It’s impressive that the agency has been at the centre of the major improvements made over the decades to ensure that those creating works receive payments, and that the licensees can enjoy and expect a fair and transparent licensing system. The digital landscape is changing so quickly, and it’s crucial that we remain outward-looking and engaged.”


Rosie Glazebrook, CLA Co-Chair and Chair of Publishers’ Licensing Services which represents over 4,000 publishers said:

“£1.5billion in distributions to publishers, authors and visual artists is a great achievement for CLA over the past 40 years. It is a challenging and technology-driven marketplace and CLA provides an excellent service to its licensees and its members, PLS, ALCS, DACS and PICSEL and has continually sought to develop innovative services to meet the needs of its customers.”


Find out more about CLA and what we do.