What do we mean by compliance?

By compliance, we mean following best practices to reduce risk of copyright infringement.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 gives the copyright owner (creator or publisher) exclusive rights, meaning that their permission must usually be obtained before anyone can reproduce an extract of their work. If permission is not obtained then you risk copyright infringement. The easiest way to do this is to obtain a CLA copyright licence. Copy, Right.

What is covered by copyright?

Most published content used by a business or public sector organisation will be protected by copyright.

This includes press cuttings (even when received from an external supplier) as well as content from online or print books, magazines, newspapers, journals, research papers, documents and most websites.

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Act responsibly. Protect your business. Copy, Right.

What happens in cases of copyright infringement?

There are potential penalties and costs associated with copyright infringement. Our compliance team will investigate reports of the potential infringement and will initiate legal action on behalf of the copyright owners where appropriate. They use a variety of methods to monitor and investigate organisations where we suspect that illegal copying may be taking place. They will also follow up on reports of copyright infringement in the workplace that are received from individuals.

Evidence of infringement presented by CLA normally results in an out of court settlement and/or the purchase of a licence. If infringement is proven the costs can be varied and damaging, so it makes sense to avoid the risks and potential costs and obtain a licence from us in advance.

Read about the Brighton and Hove City Council infringement case.

Financial costs

Copyright owners can seek a range of remedies for infringement, including an injunction, damages for losses, an account of the infringer’s profits or the right to seize infringing copies.

Reputational costs

Any legal action is bad publicity for your organisation. It can have a negative effect on your reputation and brand, affecting incoming investment and possibly future revenues.

Personal costs

Individual officers of a company can be held responsible and employees can be personally liable for infringement in certain circumstances.


You need a Business Copyright Licence if you represent a business or a charitable organisation, and you want to make copies of content protected by copyright.


Here at CLA, we provide a range of services that help support teaching and learning right across the broad UK education sector.

From state-funded and independent schools, sixth-form and further education colleges, to universities and commercial language schools.

Public Sector

Our copyright licence for the public sector, whether they are NHS staff, local government workers or information managers and decision-makers at the heart of our civil service in central government, is specifically for them.

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Public Licensing Services

Do you need a licence?

Discover the common workplace actions that risk copyright infringement, and how to protect your organisation.

Check permissions tool

Our search tool lets you see what you can copy, share or re-use legally with a CLA licence.