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ICLA licenses educational establishments, businesses and other organisations collectively, on behalf of publishers and authors, ensuring copyright is recognised and respected and that rightsholders are remunerated for down-the-line use of their work.

How we help publishers

In addition to licensing, ICLA provides copyright information/education to its licensees and represents publishers and other rightsholders in national and international consultation relating to rights.

At the ICLA, we represent 650 mandating publishers based in the Republic of Ireland, together with those represented by partner Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs) with which it has direct agreements.

On publishers’ behalf, we collectively license the use of extracts of copyright works on a non-exclusive basis according to clear rules.

We license:

  • educational establishments, in line with the educational exceptions in Ireland’s copyright legislation
  • businesses
  • government departments
  • administrative/other organisations

And we pass on the licence fees these organisations pay annually to publishers and authors, on the basis of data from licensees.

Our role is to ‘fill in the gaps’ between publishers’ sales/primary licensing and licensees’ needs. This allows publishers’ digital business models to develop in line with technology development, while our licensees continue to be able to use legitimately acquired copyright material to support their work objectives.

Such uses (with full acknowledgement of sources) include:

  • scanning/photographing/photocopying extracts from print journals/magazines/books to share with students/colleagues
  • including copyright text and still images in presentations to students/colleagues
  • copying and pasting text and still images available on the internet into documents for students/colleagues
  • making available copyright material from document delivery sources to students/colleagues

Where micro-payments might be unfeasible and/or copying acts seem too inconsequential to users, ICLA’s licences are there to ensure remunerated copying can be undertaken without users infringing copyright or rightsholders being burdened with multiple micro permissions requests.

How our licences work

Our licences allow those who copy or share work to gain the permissions they need, while respecting the work and rights of the publisher. It’s all about finding what works for both sides. The limits of each licence are set either by legislation, by agreement with rightsholders or by finding a balance between the two.

In Ireland, in compliance with EU Directives, there are copyright exceptions for various educational uses, illustration for teaching, research, news reporting, parody, criticism and data mining. The legislation includes a ‘licence override’ in the case of some ‘educational exceptions’, and these form the basis of the ICLA’s licences for schools, colleges and higher education institutions (HEIs).

This means that if a licence scheme exists, licensable organisations can make use of the relevant copyright exceptions only by paying for, and complying with, the licence. ICLA’s licences, however, go beyond what is allowed by the exceptions in some respects, as agreed with publisher representatives.

  • a limit of 5%/one chapter/one article to be copied and distributed to a class/course of study/work group.
  • no copying of whole works.
  • no distribution outside an organisation’s intranet or equivalent (no public availability or broadcasting).
  • no commercial use of anything that is copied, including no use for marketing.
  • no centralised systematic storage of copies.
  • reporting of what is copied (the work by ISBN/ISSN, ‘pages’ copied, number of recipients) as the basis for remunerating rightsholders.

Excluded works: the pros and cons

ICLA licences do not include certain categories of works:

  • Maps and charts
  • Sheet music including the words
  • Stand-alone images (though images that are published with text can be disembedded and copied separately)

Since the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act was commenced in December 2019, all other works consisting of text and still images have been included in the educational exceptions covered by ICLA’s licences, unless the rightsholder has specifically decided to exclude them.

Licensees are asked to refer to the Excluded Works List regularly, and we will make them aware of any new exclusions. As a publisher you can therefore choose to exclude any or all of your publications from our licences, and in this way exercise your rights as the exclusive licensor.

However, these are the ‘cons’ to consider before doing so:

  • While a publisher can exclude their work from an ICLA licence, they cannot exclude their work from the related copyright exception.
  • Works not covered by the licence can be copied under the related copyright exception and this will be without remuneration, reporting or any sort of oversight by the ICLA/an equivalent RRO.
  • A new educational exception in the 2019 Act allows an educational establishment to ‘make a copy or communication of a work that is available through the Internet’ without setting a clear guide as to how much of such a work can be copied. The ICLA licences set clear guidance for the use of such works.
  • The ICLA licences confirm that ‘For the avoidance of doubt, this Licence does not supersede any licences agreed between the Licensee and the publisher or distributor of Licensed Material’, thereby clarifying the relationship between the publisher’s licence and ours.
  • We also ask publishers to note that they cannot exclude their work from some overseas licensing regimes, even if they do exclude them in Ireland. These include: Australia, Denmark, Germany, and Norway for schools.

How to clear rights for publications

Copyright is there to protect your publications and the works of other rightsholders. This means that if you want to include the work of other rightsholders in one of your publications, you will need to seek permission. You should be prepared to pay for this, depending on the policy of the rightsholder, the significance/value of the material to be copied – to the rightsholder and to you – and its extent.

Your organisation will have procedures in place for doing this systematically, and will have set budgets for permissions depending on the type of publication. Nevertheless, this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process – particularly where a publication, such as a textbook, requires a large number of resources that may be out of commerce or ‘orphaned’ (no rightsholder can be identified).

While ICLA cannot help you to apply for permissions or secure these for you, we can assist you in identifying rightsholders and finding their contact details. To ask for such help, please contact us.

ICLA can also advise on best practice in applying for permissions to help ensure due diligence in seeking owners and asking for copyright clearance. In this regard, be aware that:

  • out-of-copyright works, or works ‘in the public domain’ are those for which copyright has expired (71st year after the death of the author).
  • orphan works are works that are still protected by copyright, but for which no authors or other rightsholders can be located. Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament has permitted certain uses for orphan works, especially with regard to their digitisation and accessibility. View the Orphan Works Database.
  • out-of-commerce works are those which are no longer available to purchase but are still in copyright. There are many issues in this regard – for example, one edition of a work may be out of commerce but another edition is still available, or the same work may be available for purchase in another language or a different format. Alternatively, the rights may have reverted to the author and the author may be monetising their work in a different way, such as by hosting it on a website that also hosts advertising from which the author can benefit. The rules for determining when a work can be defined as ‘out of commerce’ and how rightsholders can be protected while freeing up such works for readers, are currently under review.

Are you a publisher? Get in touch to find out more about how we can help to protect your work. Plus, explore our Licences, covering schools, higher education, the private sector and more.