Library Services


Copyright & the CLA licence

All material made available through the Course Readings Service must comply with the provisions of copyright law and UCL's CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) Licence.

The CLA licence covers in-copyright works for making copies (in digital or print format) to support students on a specific course of study.

For one module, for an academic year, the maximum that can be digitised or photocopied is

10% of the whole publication or:

  • one chapter of a book
  • one article of a journal / periodical issue
  • one scene from a play
  • one paper from a set of conference proceedings
  • one report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings
  • one short storry, poems, or play (not exceeding 10 pages) from an anthology.

... whichever is the greater amount can be used.

The Licence imposes additional conditions:

  • Only material held by UCL Library may be made available (please note that a lecturer's personal copy is not sufficient)
  • Only material from publishers participating in the CLA licence can be used. The CLA's look up tool can give a helpful indication to see if the reading is covered.
  • Material published in countries that do not participate in the scanning part of the CLA licence may be still made available in paper format: the CLA look up tool also indicates this.

Please note that, while copyright lapses automatically 70 years after an author's death, separate copyright also subsists in the typographical arrangement for 25 years. This means that copyright restrictions may still apply even where the work is by a long-deceased author.

Useful links: 

If you are interested in copyright law or its application in higher education institutions, you may find the following sites useful:

The Copyright Licensing Agency:

Intellectual Property Office:

  • comprehensive definitions and examples of copyright, from this UK government website