Collective Licensing

An overview

What is Collective Licensing?
Collective Licensing offers a simple and cost effective solution both for those who wish to copy from published materials without breaking the law and for rights holders where direct licensing would be inefficient and unduly burdensome. A blanket licence allows users to copy from a broad range of repertoire in return for a licence fee, so providing convenience and excellent value for money. The licence fee is paid to the rights holders whose publications have been shown to have been copied.
Download Introduction to Collective Licensing (PDF).

Which publishers are signed up?
There are over 4,000 publishers signed up with PLS. See a list of signed up publishers here (last updated: October 2019).

Our role in Collective Licensing
We administer the copying rights of publishers who sign up with us by overseeing the collective licensing of their rights by licensing organisations. This includes representing their interests in the development of collective licences and consulting publishers before we approve any new licence or changes to existing licences. We also ensure that the licence fee income generated from collective licensing is allocated accurately and distributed efficiently to the publishers whose publications have been copied.

How we license
PLS appoints licensing organisations to license the rights granted to PLS by publishers on a collective basis. PLS currently licenses through the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and, in the case of magazine publishers who instruct PLS accordingly, through NLA media access (NLA) for business and government licensing.  

Licensing with CLA
CLA licenses organisations to copy and use limited extracts from books, magazines, journals and websites. The copying limits are generally one chapter of a book, one article from a periodical or up to 5% of a work (or the equivalent proportion of a website), whichever is the greater.

CLA licenses schools, universities, colleges, government departments, local authorities, the NHS, other public bodies and a wide variety of businesses in the UK. CLA also licenses reproduction rights organisations abroad with which CLA has a bilateral agreement.

In addition to licensing the rights of publishers on behalf of PLS, CLA is authorised to license the rights of authors (on behalf of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)) and visual artists. CLA makes deductions from the licence fee income for their administrative fees and for authors and visual artists (see section 2.2 of our Distribution Charter) with the result that publishers have no obligations to other rights holders with respect to monies received from PLS for CLA licensing.  

Licensing with NLA media access
NLA media access manages copyright for media monitoring on behalf of publishers through a repertoire of non exclusive licences. Their remit encompasses more than 1,400 national, regional and foreign newspapers, more than 750 magazines and 1,100+ newspaper websites.

NLA media access licenses businesses, Media Monitoring Agencies, PR agencies, the public sector, and charities.

Monies received from NLA and available for distribution to publishers are net of NLA’s administration fees of 20%. Publishers are responsible for making any payments that may be due to third party contributors.

Signing up with PLS
All UK and overseas-based publishers of books, magazines, journals and websites are eligible to sign up with PLS to manage the rights in their works on a collective basis.

There is no charge for signing up with PLS.

A publisher may exclude individual or groups of publications from the scope of their mandate to PLS. Additionally, publishers can choose to participate in transactional document delivery licences granted to libraries and other document suppliers.

A publisher and PLS may each terminate the agreement on six months written notice, with any licence issued before the expiry of the notice period continuing through the term of the licence.

Sign up here, or request a paper form from PLS.