CLA licences and 'crossover' NHS-HE crossover copyright queries: guidance

Some information on the CLA licences and crossover between the NHS and HEIs.

CLA Licences and ‘crossover’

In general, individuals may only make/share copies with others covered by the same licence as them – whether university or NHS – from originals they own.

In higher education, this means owned by the individual university; in the NHS, this means owned by any NHS organisation in England.

So in general, university staff and students may only make/share copies under their university’s CLA Licence, with others covered by that university’s CLA Licence, from originals owned by that university.

Similarly, NHS staff in England, including library staff, may only make/share copies under the terms of the NHS CLA Licence, with others covered by that Licence, from originals owned by/subscribed to by the NHS in England.

However, the NHS CLA licences have some additional features to help with NHS-HE crossover scenarios:

A. University libraries which have a contract or service level agreement (SLA) to provide library services to the NHS

The staff of these university libraries may make/share copies under the terms of the NHS CLA Licence for NHS staff covered by the contract or SLA agreement, from originals owned by the NHS or by the university.

B. University students on NHS placement and university staff working for the NHS

University students on NHS placement and university staff engaged on NHS business are covered by the NHS CLA Licence and may make/share and receive copies under that Licence, from NHS-owned originals whilst on placement/engaged in NHS work.

C. University and NHS in England staff working together on ‘collaboration projects’

The CLA NHS in England Licence enables NHS and university staff collaborating on specific projects to share copies relating to that project with each other, whether obtained from NHS or university-owned originals, or supplied by an NHS library.

The CLA should be notified ([email protected]) when a new collaboration partnership commences, so that they can confirm that both parties have a Licence, and help us monitor uptake of the collaboration clause in our Licence.

UK Copyright Legislation and ‘Library Privilege’

Under UK copyright legislation, any publicly accessible library may make single ‘Library Privilege’ copies on behalf of the users of other not-for-profit libraries, provided the requester has supplied a declaration to confirm:

  • that they have not previously been supplied with a copy
  • that the copy is required for non-commercial research or private study
  • that they won’t supply the copy to anyone else
  • that as far as they know, no one else is going to be asking for the same copy for the same purpose at the same time  

These declarations do not need to be signed but should be written and recorded. A ‘tick box’ confirmation on an online request form, or confirmation by email are acceptable.

Copies may be supplied digitally, from printed or electronic originals.  Only a single copy of  one article from an issue of a journal, or a “reasonable” proportion of any other published work is allowed.

The permission for not-for-profit libraries to share Library Privilege copies, in print or electronic format, cannot be limited by publisher or supplier contract.

However, never assume that university libraries will supply Library Privilege copies to NHS libraries, unless they are members of a reciprocal scheme where this has been agreed.

Publisher licences

NHS libraries generally do not need to refer separately to publishers’ and suppliers’ licences. The CLA acts on behalf of publishers, and the CLA Check Permissions Tool covers copying permissions relating to both digital and print originals, of all items with an ISSN or ISBN. The standard NHS licence for electronic resources states that CLA Licences and UK copyright legislation should prevail, and as above, copyright legislation allows not-for-profit libraries to supply each other with Library Privilege copies from any copyright work.

For university libraries, publisher licences may prevail. These typically define who may have full access and who may have walk-in access, and whether walk-in access is restricted to viewing or allows fair dealing copying.

Some NHS-HE ‘crossover’ scenarios

Scenario 1: University libraries with a contract or service level agreement to provide library services to NHS organisations

Staff of these libraries may make copies from their own stock for staff of the NHS organisation(s) covered by the contract or SLA, under the terms of the NHS CLA Licence.

Scenario 2: University students on placement at NHS organisations

University students on placement may make/receive copies under the NHS CLA Licence from NHS-owned originals whilst they are on placement, and the HE CLA Licence from university-owned originals for the duration of their education programmes.

Scenario 3: Individuals/teams of university staff working for the NHS

University staff who have a contract/honorary contract with an NHS organisation, or are supplying services to an NHS organisation under a service agreement, may make/receive copies under the NHS CLA Licence from NHS-owned originals whilst engaged in NHS work.

Scenario 4: NHS staff undertaking university education programmes

NHS staff on university education programmes may make/receive copies under the NHS Licence from NHS-owned originals whilst in NHS employment, and under the HE CLA Licence from university-owned originals whilst on their education programme.

Scenario 5: Individuals/teams of NHS staff working for a university

NHS staff who have a contract/honorary contract with a university, or are supplying services to a university under a service agreement, may make/receive copies under the HE CLA Licence from university-owned originals whilst engaged in university work.

Scenario 6: University and NHS staff working collaboratively on projects

Staff working together on specific projects may share copies relating to that project with each other, whether obtained from NHS-owned originals or supplied by NHS library staff under the terms of the NHS in England Licence. Please let the CLA know ([email protected]) when the collaboration commences.

Scenario 7: University and NHS libraries operating within the same inter-library document supply schemes and networks

The scheme owner/coordinator should provide guidance on this. The CLA Licences allow cross sector sharing in the scenarios described above, but do not cover general cross-sector inter-library supply. If in doubt, rely on Library Privilege.

Page last reviewed: 1 October 2021