Under One Roof: The New Home of ALCS

In July 2015, ALCS moved into one building with The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS). Read on to find out more about our offices and our new housemates.

Since July 2015, ALCS has been sharing a building with the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) and the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) at Barnards’ Inn in Fetter Lane, London EC4. This cohabitation move was designed to facilitate improved communications and introduce savings to enable all three organisations to maximise revenues, whilst maintaining their distinct roles and identities.

Long-standing ALCS Members will recall that ALCS used to be based in High Holborn. We are now just a few steps away from those old offices in our new home at Barnard’s Inn, a location which infamously features in Dickens’ Great Expectations. Thankfully, it is nowhere near the ‘frowzy mourning of soot’ as it is described in the book (and probably once was). Nowadays, Barnard’s Inn provides a modern and airy working environment and features a Members’ Room, with wifi connectivity and tea and coffee-making facilities.

We hope to welcome plenty of Members to this new space which is open to all ALCS Members as a place to work, contemplate and meet whilst in the centre of London. If you wish to book a slot in the Members’ Room please call Cathy Knights on 020 7264 5700.

The nearest tube stations to Barnard’s Inn are Chancery Lane, Holborn and Farringdon.

Publishers Licensing Society (PLS)

The Publishers Licensing Society Limited (PLS) provides rights management services to the publishing industry, and, just as ALCS on behalf of writers, its primary remit is to oversee collective licensing for publishers in the UK for book, journal, magazine and website copying.

Together with ALCS, the PLS owns and directs the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), about which you can read more below.

PLS also provides a range of rights management services and initiatives, including:

  • PLSe – a free online rights management service for publishers signed up to PLS
  • PLSclear – a handy permissions clearance tool
  • Access to Research – a UK initiative providing access to academic research for public library users


The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA)

The Copyright Licensing Agency Limited (CLA) was set up in 1983 by ALCS to sell licenses to organisations which will allow them to copy and re-use published work. It is co-owned and directed by ALCS and PLS.

The licenses sold by the CLA cover all types of copying, including photocopying, scanning, and re-use of content from magazines, books, journals, electronic and online publications, as well as press cuttings or documents supplied by a licensed third party. These licenses generate a substantial amount in secondary royalties for ALCS and PLS Members.

Any organisation which photocopies, scans or digitally reproduces material from copyright publications will normally require a licence from the CLA to ensure legal compliance. This requirement applies to organisations in the business, education, public and charitable sectors.

In the financial year, 2014-15, CLA distributed £20.7m to authors; £37m to publishers and £4.5m to visual artists.

It is a pleasure to now be sharing premises with our colleagues at PLS and CLA, and over the coming months we will continue to report on how this new arrangement is better facilitating cross-organisation communication and savings.