Monday, September 25, 2006

Important copyright information

All NHS staff should be made aware that this year the NHS has not renewed the national copying license with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). This means that with immediate effect, what you may copy and how much you may copy has become restricted.

Under the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act, it is illegal to make copies of copyrighted works (such as books, journals, training materials etc) unless you have permission from the copyright holder. However, even without a license from the CLA, exceptions in the Act mean that we are still allowed to undertake limited copying without permission provided we adhere to the following restrictions.

The purpose of the copy must be for private study or research for a non-commercial purpose. Therefore copying in support of the work of the NHS is allowed, and so is copying for personal use as part of your education or research. However you may not copy without permission if your research is intended to lead to financial benefit to yourself.


The extent of your copying must be limited to an amount which will not affect the economic interests of the copyright holder. There is no agreed amount that has been set out in law, but established practice suggests that safe copying limits are:

  • Maximum of one article per issue of a journal or periodical;
  • Maximum of one chapter or 5% of other published works;
  • Maximum of one copy of the material in question.
  • Whenever practical all copying must acknowledge the original author.

Therefore without the CLA license it is now illegal to create multiple copies of the same copyrighted work for a journal club or any other meeting without permission from the copyright holder.


Electronic/digital documents
Please be aware that the above limitations apply equally to faxing, scanning, emailing and downloading as they do to photocopying – electronic copies are no different. This has the following implications:
If you download or are emailed a copyrighted document, and you print a copy of it you must delete your electronic copy.
Storing a copyrighted document on a network so that it becomes accessible to others is illegal.
However, much of the electronic material we access may be via subscriptions to online journals or databases. In these cases the specific licensing arrangements we have with the vendors may grant us greater rights than those we have under the Copyright Act.
This is a complex and often confusing issue and we may not yet have worked out all of the implications of the loss of the NHS CLA license. The NHS National Knowledge Service will be issuing formal guidance shortly which we will make available. In the meantime you can get further information by contacting the Health Library on 01782 556565 or by referring to the following websites.
National Library for Health:
www.library.nhs.uk/forlibrarians/copyright/guidance
Copyright Licensing Agency: www.cla.co.uk
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals:www.cilip.org.uk/professionalguidance/copyright/advice

Library copying for NHS staff
This will also affect the library's service to you. From now on we will no longer be able to:
Provide multiple copies of the same paper;
Copy more than one paper from any single issue of any journal for an individual - this will particularly affect themed issues and supplements.
Hopefully this will not trouble too many of you, but it is inevitable that some library users will be affected.


Please note that Keele students and staff copy under a separate Higher Education License with the CLA and they will not be affected by the loss of the NHS license.

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