Legal action from CLA prompts councils to license

Legal action from CLA prompts councils to license

Twenty councils have taken a copyright licence following legal action over infringement by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA).

In April, Brighton & Hove City Council agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to the CLA after evidence compiled by the CLA showed that infringement had taken place. The council had originally claimed it was not at risk of copyright infringement and had its own "no copying" policy, which the CLA said was not effective.

Following that settlement, five other local authorities that had previously cancelled their licences have conducted internal reviews and taken on another licence to avoid possible legal action, while 15 other councils have taken one for the first time.

Martin Delaney, the legal director of the CLA, said: "I am pleased to see that councils are recognising their legal requirement for a CLA licence. This will help us protect the UK creative industries, worth more than £36.2bn to the UK economy."

He added: "All of CLA’s licensed councils are surveyed on a rolling program and our data shows that copying is widespread during the course of day-to-day activities. There is no reason to doubt that these practices occur in all of the remaining unlicensed local authorities as well."

The CLA reports that 140 of 450 UK councils remain unlicensed. If a council is found to be breaching copyright from digital or print publications, then in some cases the council officers and employees can be held individually liable.