A licence is also known as a contract. It is a legally binding agreement that can be written or verbal. It is a mechanism through which the owner of a copyright can authorise other parties to make use of a work.

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

At the University of Sheffield, we can use 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. These support copyright by giving the owner a way to make their work available for reuse, subject to certain conditions.

Licences are useful because, used properly, 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 logo

CLA Higher Education Licence

Newspaper Licensing Agency media access logo

NLA Media Access


ERA logo

    ERA+ & Box of Broadcasts

CC Licence icon CC-BY-SA

Creative Commons

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