Local Authorities

Copyright law applies to local authorities just the same as it does other public and commercial sector organisations. In fact most Local Authorities currently hold a licence from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) that permits them to copy published material in the workplace.

A recent Copywatch campaign led to a significant increase in applications to CLA with 61 more local authorities taking a licence. Local authority licences typically provide legal cover for activities such as photocopying and scanning of books and journals, digital copying from PDF documents and accessing and circulating of press cuttings in council offices.

However, there are still some councils that do not have permission to use published content in these ways and if we receive information about illegal copying we will investigate and take action.

National Health Service (NHS)

Copyright applies to the national NHS services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland just the same as it does to the rest of the public and commercial sectors.

Due in part to a recent Copywatch campaign concentrated on NHS Scotland we are pleased to say that all the national health authorities are currently licensed.

The Copywatch campaign facilitated CLA and NHS Education for Scotland to agree a new 2-year licence that will remain in place until 2016. The licence is the result of open and constructive discussion over a 12 month period and complements the digital content strategy that NHS Scotland is deploying.


Media Monitoring
and Press cuttings

If you receive press cuttings you will normally require a licence from The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) to cover you to make a further copy, save a copy on a PC or email it to a colleague. Without a licence you are permitted only to:

  • Access/view a single electronic press cutting by one person, once only

  • Print out a single copy of a cutting which cannot then be further copied.

Following an initiative by Copywatch, agencies are required to provide the names of clients that receive press cuttings, either in hard copy, electronically by e-mail or via online access. As a result of the client details provided more than 1,300 organisations have been contacted and licensed by CLA.

Give information

If you think you are copying without a licence or other permission you should inform your employer that you might need a licence. If you would rather not approach them directly, then tell us and we will take it up directly. You can provide the information confidentially here.