Copyright Licensing Agency

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Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA)
Headquarters5th Floor, Shackleton House, 4 Battle Bridge Lane, London, SE1 2HX
Number of employees

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) is a UK non-profit organisation[1] established in 1983 by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS, now Publishers' Licensing Services) to perform collective licensing on their behalf.[2] The Copyright Licensing Agency is based in 5th Floor, Shackleton House, 4 Battle Bridge Lane, London, SE1 2HX , with additional offices at CBC House, 24 Canning Street Edinburgh EH3 8EG, Scotland. It was originally to have been called the Copyright Licensing Authority, and early documents were issued in that name, but the name was changed before the formal establishment.


The aim of the CLA is to obtain fair rewards for authors, visual artists and publishers for the copying of their work. CLA is a non-profit organisation and money collected in licence fees is distributed to the copyright owners after company costs have been deducted. In the financial year 2009/2010 CLA distributed £51.4m to authors, visual artists and publishers.[3]


As well as UK publications, CLA have agreements with reproduction rights organisations (RROs) that allow employees to copy works published in over 36 other countries. CLA also work with the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) towards the development of international codes of conduct.

The Hargreaves Report (2011)[edit]

In March 2011, CLA released a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers into the economic impact of copyright in the UK. The report showed that £4.3 billion is estimated to have been invested in new content in the UK in 2007, of which £1.6 billion was invested in art and literature.[4] The report was used to inform an independent review into intellectual property and growth, with particular reference to the digital economy. This review was commissioned by the government and led by Professor Ian Hargreaves.[5]

Copyright Law[edit]

CLA is a licensing body as defined by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


CLA established its compliance arm, Copywatch in 1996.[6] Copywatch was established in 1996 by The Copyright Licensing Agency to counter illegal copying of books, magazines and journals in the business and local authority areas. The company is also a member of the Alliance Against IP Theft and the Trading Standards Institute.[7]

What can I do with this content?[edit]

At Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2011, CLA launched a new industry-standard digital copyright icon[8] which displays publishers' key terms of use on their websites. Entitled, 'What can I do with this content?', the tool aims to benefit publishers by communicating their copyright policy; providing an industry-standard format for displaying copyright terms on the internet and generating revenue for those publishers signed up to the UK collective licensing scheme.[9]


The CLA often claim to support all authors and publishers, but many authors and small publishers do not opt into their scheme; others disagree with the policies of the CLA.[10]


  1. ^ "Information Governance | University of Salford, Manchester". 25 May 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 January 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ 'An economic analysis of copyright, secondary copyright and collective licensing' Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2011.
  5. ^ Campbell, Lisa "Changing copyright laws could "stifle" literature, report finds" The Bookseller, 11.03.2011
  6. ^ ":: This Site is Under Construction ::". Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Licensing bodies and collecting societies - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  8. ^ Techies Group "Plagiarism checking services " , 22.04.2019
  9. ^ "Why Protecting Your Content is Key to Your Digital Future' Publishing Perspectives, Frankfurt Show Daily" (PDF).

External links[edit]