Extended Collective Licensing – register your vote

Have your say about whether or not you support an application being made by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) for an ECL application.

Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) describes a statutory authority that permits a licensing body to extend its licences to include the works of rightsholders who are not members of that licensing body. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (2013) permits the Government to authorise licensing bodies to operate ECLs in the UK. Regulations enacted in 2014, setting out the criteria that must be met by bodies making such applications, include a requirement that members of the licensing body affected by the scheme must consent to it.

The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd. (CLA) intends to apply for an ECL to support the collective licences it provides to the education, business and public administration sectors. CLA’s members, ALCS, the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) and the Picture Industry Collecting Society for Effective Licensing (PICSEL) are supporting CLA in its ECL application. The application relates to CLA’s ‘blanket licences’ which enable licensed organisations to copy limited extracts from the published materials, such as books, magazines and academic journals in their collections.

On behalf of their members, ALCS, PLS, DACS and PICSEL mandate CLA to issue the licences described above. Unless works are expressly excluded from a CLA blanket licence they are deemed to be included. As such, works of authors who are not members of ALCS may be copied. When this happens, authors are contacted by ALCS, paid their due fees and admitted to ALCS membership. By securing a statutory ECL authority CLA will, in effect, acquire a more formal mandate to license on behalf of ‘unrepresented rightholders’.

Types of licence that will be subject to ECL
The CLA licences relevant to the ECL application are the ‘blanket’ licences offered to the education, business and public administration sectors. Full details of the licences are available on the CLA website.

Rights and uses covered by the ECL
CLA licences typically permit users to copy the greater of 5% or one chapter of a work or, for a journal or a magazine, one article. Copies may be distributed in paper form, scanned or accessed in digital form via secure networks operated by the licensee.

Benefit to ALCS Members of the CLA ECL scheme
Securing the statutory ECL will enable the continuation of the CLA ‘blanket’ licences in their current form with no disruption to the payments that CLA makes to ALCS for distribution to authors. Conversely, if CLA’s application was unsuccessful, it may be necessary to restrict the licensing schemes to a prescribed repertoire of works. The reduced facility to licensees could result in a renegotiation of the fees paid to CLA which would mean reduced payments to ALCS members.

Opting out of an ECL Scheme
The ECL Regulations specify that rightsholders whose works will be covered by an extended licence should have the opportunity to opt-out of the licence. As an ALCS member you are already entitled to notify us of any works that you wish to exclude from CLA licences by contacting the Membership Department (link). If the CLA’s ECL application is successful, the authorisation they receive from the Government will require them to have a clear process enabling rightholders to exclude their works from the licences. ALCS will publicise details of this ‘opt-out’ process through its usual communications channels.

What do ALCS members need to do?
To apply for an ECL mandate CLA must demonstrate that their application is supported by the rightsholders it currently represents. These rightsholders are represented by the current CLA members as follows: ALCS (authors), PLS (publishers), DACS (authors of artistic works) and PICSEL (image libraries).

ALCS members are therefore required to vote on whether or not to support application. Please note: if you have already provided consent to ALCS in a previous poll you do not need to do so again now.    

Further information 
A list of FAQs with further information concerning ECL can be accessed here.

If you require further information before casting your vote, please call Luke Alcott or Richard Combes on telephone: 020 7264 5700 or email luke.alcott@alcs.co.uk or richard.combes@alcs.co.uk

How to vote
Members were sent a link in the July edition of ALCS News, with a personalised voting form. If you didn’t receive this, you can contact ALCS and we will send you another.