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CLA’s Annual Survey: Understanding, value, and one big myth to bust

17th June 2021

The 2021 survey is now complete, and we’d like to thank the 700+ participants who responded to this year’s questions.  The survey orientates around a similar set of questions each year to analyse how CLA is helping school and college staff with our mission to make copyright simple.

As with last year, respondents - who comprised a range of staff from school and college communities across the UK - showed a good understanding of what they can do with their CLA Education Licence.  That the licence covers licensees to copy up to 5% seems well understood (86% selected), as well as the need to own a source copy (62%).  What’s especially great to see is that a higher number of respondents understand that the licence is more than just a ‘photocopying licence’, with an increased understanding of the digital scope of the licence (Up from 41% in 2020 to 60% in 2021).

81% of respondents said they felt that teacher understanding of copyright is extremely or moderately important.  When looking at the free text responses it’s easy to see why.  So many of the respondents are themselves creators, who may enjoy additional revenue generated by their intellectual property, or many had encountered copyright in previous careers.  At the other end of the spectrum, respondents also valued the CLA Licence as users of content.  65% responded that a valuable aspect of the licence was the peace of mind it brings, with 53% selecting time saving as a valued feature. 

To help school staff understand copyright further, tangible visual clues were the most preferred from the selection offered.  32% participants supported badges on publications covered by the licence (as now featured on Hodder Education, Hodder Gibson and PGOnline books) and 27% selected posters.  Online training was also still popular (24%) as a means to top up copyright understanding – we hope to have news on this soon!

In terms of CLA however, one myth or misconception was noticeable.  When asked to comment on CLA’s purpose, respondents often use terms such as ‘police’ ‘monitor’ and ‘regulate’.  Whenever we talk to school and college staff, we are keen to explain our role in the copyright eco-system, and that far from being a restriction our role is as an enabler. 

Copyright law restricts the re-use of content without the permission of the copyright owner.  A CLA Licence gives you blanket permission to copy, and once our operating costs are deducted, licence fees are returned to the copyright owners – publishers and authors and artists – some of whom may be working down the corridor from you.  We work out what share of the fees should go to the copyright owners by doing data collection exercises, and that’s all they’re for – to work out royalty payments.    

So next time you have a copyright question or are worried about a certain activity you want to do, feel free to get in touch, and we’ll do what we can to help and point you in the right direction.  We might have ‘Agency’ in our title, but we’re CLA, not the CIA of copyright.