UK: useful copyright resources

Copyright Legislation

Copyright Designs and Patents Act (UK). The UK law that governs copyright in the UK, setting out parameters including duration of copyright, restricted acts, exceptions, limitations and defences.

Copyright Guidance and Information

Intellectual Property Office. The official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK. The IPO has produced a Copyright Notice on Printed Music, which provides advice to users of printed music.

The Copyright Hub. A portal providing copyright guidance, including how to go about obtaining permission for various uses of copyright works and how to protect one’s own work. As the Hub is industry-led, the emphasis is on licensing.

Copyright User. Another useful guide aimed at creators and users of copyright materials. Coverage is comprehensive, including exceptions in the UK.

The Music Library Association (MLA) copyright pages. The Music Library Association is an American organization whose mission is to provide “a professional forum for librarians, archivists, and others who support and preserve the world’s musical heritage”. As such please be aware that this copyright guidance relates to copyright law in the USA. Nevertheless, it provides a very useful resource in terms of highlighting issues that need to be considered by music users.

Collecting Societies and Trade Associations

British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The trade association for manufacturers, producers and sellers of records, tapes and CDs in the UK. The BPI has an agreement with CILIP which governs the parameters under which CDs can be lent in public libraries.

Christian Copyright Licensing International United Kingdom. A body offering a range of licences to cover uses including film, music and photocopied publications in the context of Christian worship.

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). A licensing body issuing licences to copy extracts from the majority of books, periodicals and digital publications published in the UK, and some publications from other countries.

Educational Recording Agency (ERA). A licensing body issuing licences which allow educational establishments to record radio and television broadcasts.

Filmbank. A distributor representing many of the major film companies, providing licences for the purposes of showing films outside of the home, where such a showing is not covered by an exception.

Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society: licences the recording of copyright music in the United Kingdom: see PRS for Music

Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC). Another licensing body providing licences for the purposes of showing films outside of the home, where such a showing is not covered by an exception.

Music Publishers Association (MPA). The UK trade association for music publishers. Has produced a Code of Fair Practice agreed between composers, publishers and users of printed music. Also issues a licence for copying music for visually-impaired users. The MPA will respond to queries about music publishing in general.

Performing Right Society. Licences the public performance and broadcast of copyright music in the United Kingdom: see PRS for Music

Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL). A licensing body owned by the Music Publisher Association which offers a licence to United Kingdom and Northern Ireland schools for photocopying printed music, and for making customized arrangements.

PRS for Music. The UK collecting society that offers licences (through the Performing Right Society) for the public performance, broadcast, and streaming of copyright music, and (through the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) for the recording and film and television synchronization of copyright music, and for offering audio downloads. PRS for Music’s repertoire embraces music published in the UK and (through reciprocal arrangements) overseas.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL). The collecting society for the UK record industry, administering broadcasting and public performance rights and distributing fees to record companies and performers.

UK Music. An industry-backed campaigning and lobbying group that represent every part of the UK recorded and live music industry. Its website includes policy statements on subjects including copyright and intellectual property as well as research and industry reports.