Information about different licence types.



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 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.  The presentation can be added to MOLE.

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. 

Visit the ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society) and DACS (The Design and Artists Copyright Society) webpages for information about authors' and artists' rights. 

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 licence terms

Attribution (CC BY)

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

This is the most accommodating of the licences offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

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Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.

This license is often compared to copyleft-free and open-source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

This is the license used by Wikipedia and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

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Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

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Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

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Ordnance Survey map collection and Digimap

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, ‘Crown’ copyright exists for a period of 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first published.

This means that any Ordnance survey mapping which was created prior to 1 April 2015 will be protected by Crown copyright for a period of 50 years from its first publication.

Accordingly, if an Ordnance survey map was first published over 50 years ago it can be copied or otherwise used without a licence from OS.

Following the transition to a government-owned company, the position now differs because mapping and other materials are no longer being created by ‘employees of the Crown’.

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the copyright arising in the updates to our mapping, or in new mapping data, software, or other materials, after 1 April 2015, will last for a period of 70 years following the death of all the persons involved in creating it.

It is only after the expiry of this period, that the mapping can be copied or otherwise used without a licence from OS.

An A4-sized extract from an OS map which is still in copyright may be copied within 'fair dealing' exceptions.

OS Open Data

You may also be interested in OS Open Data, a set of free digital maps of GB, available to use for any purpose 

Digimap (Ordnance Survey) Licence

This allows use of data through our subscription to Digimap via EDINA.  Details of the subscription and the licences that apply to each collection including Licence FAQs can be found here.  

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