Information about different licence types.



A licence is a legally binding agreement that can be written or verbal, or in certain cases can be implied. It is a means by which the owner of a copyright can authorise other parties to make use of their work, subject to the licence terms.

A licence can only be given by the person who owns the copyright, or who is authorised to act on behalf of the rights owner.

At the University of Sheffield, we rely on different types of licence:

Blanket licences, such as those offered by the Copyright Licensing Agency. These have a yearly cost for the institution and give authorised users permission to carry out certain acts with certain works.

Open licences, such as Creative Commons and open software licences. These facilitate sharing and reuse by giving the owner a way to make their work available subject to certain conditions.

Licences are useful because they offer an extremely low-risk and unambiguous way to use a work. When you use a licence, always check that it is being offered by somebody who is authorised to do so.

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence

This, subject to terms and conditions, permits the copying and re-use of extracts of text and still images from printed books, journals and magazines, and from digital publications including some free-to-view and subscription websites.

The licence covers most printed books, journals and magazines published in the UK, plus many published overseas and a large number of digital publications. 

You can find out whether a particular publication is covered by using the CLA Check Permissions tool

Under the terms of the licence, you may: 

  • make photocopies to be distributed to registered students and members of staff,
  • ask the library to scan chapters/journal articles etc. to use in teaching on specific modules,
  • scan an image from a book or journal and embed that image in a lecture presentation with suitable acknowledgement. 

For more details please see the terms and conditions of the licence document and the user guidelines.

Please contact Resource lists, as this is a centralised service and an obligatory part of the licence. 

Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA Media Access) licence

This permits staff and students to make ad-hoc copies of cuttings from UK national newspapers and several regional and international titles.  Please note, that this excludes the Financial Times.

Under the terms of the licence, staff and students of the University have the right to: 

  • make photocopies of cuttings taken from NLA newspapers that the University is covered for (as above),
  • fax cuttings taken from those newspapers.

Staff are also permitted to make up to 250 photocopies of any article for students for inclusion in study packs.

Please see the terms and conditions (PDF, 754KB) and user guide (PDF, 474KB) for more information. Please visit the library's databases to find the appropriate text. 

Educational Recording Agency (ERA+) licence

This allows the recording and storage of television and radio programmes and allows the University to subscribe to Box of Broadcasts (BoB) which is an on-demand TV and radio service for education. 

Staff and students at the University (and other subscribing institutions) can record programmes from many free-to-air channels (see the full channel list), search an extensive archive, as well as creating clips, and compiling playlists. 

Full terms and conditions are available here.

Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons issued its first licences over twenty years ago. The licences allow rights holders to make their works available to others using clearly defined licence terms. 

For users, the licences provide a simple way of knowing exactly which uses of a work are permitted, without needing to seek further permission.

Our Bitesize Webinar looks at Creative Commons licences in more detail, including their terms and how they can be used.

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