Copyright and the Publishers Licensing Society

When you photocopy an article or book chapter, or cut and paste sections or download pictures from a website, are you infringing copyright? As with everything, "it depends".

Many organisations, including the NHS and schools, pay the Copyright Licensing Agency a negotiated amount to cover the cost of photocopying for a year, within certain limits, without having to seek further permission. The money gathered under this collective licensing scheme is then distributed to publishers, authors and artists/designers.

The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) is the non-profit making organisation responsible for getting copyright royalties to publishers. Yesterday, Imogen and Tom from the PLS came to Edinburgh to talk to some Scottish publishers about what they do and how the PLS is keeping up to date with developments in the digital age. As well as learning a lot, I enjoyed the opportunity to swap stories and ideas with the other attendees, including Joe and Katie from Pinpoint Scotland, which produces ENT News.

If you have published anything in the UK that has an ISSN or ISBN number, it is worth checking with the Publishers Licensing Society to see if they hold any royalties for you.

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