NLA and CLA licences – what do they cover and do you need them?

There are two main media licensing bodies in the UK – the Newspaper Licensing Agency and the Copyright Licensing Agency (NLA and CLA).

What is the purpose of the NLA and CLA?

The NLA and CLA act to support journalism and simplify copyright for content users and copyright owners. The two bodies work on behalf of UK newspaper and magazine publishers to ensure copyright owners are rewarded effectively for the use of their work.


Essentially, they monitor how text and images from magazines, newspapers, books, journals and other media outlets are being used by other businesses.

person turning a page of a newspaper

If you reuse or copy copyright articles (eg share clippings) from member media outlets (eg newspapers, magazines, books, journals, etc) you will need a copyright licence.

What do NLA and CLA licences cover?

There are different licences you can get with the NLA and CLA depending on how you are using media content. These range from occasional and frequent copying for internal use, through to sharing the content externally on your website, for example.

There are also specific licences for PR agencies, charities and clients of media monitoring organisations.

Whether you need either NLA or CLA licences – or both – depends entirely on how your organisation uses content, and where the content is taken from.

The CLA has a handy online comparison of what the two licences cover here.

What licence do you need?

Put simply, if you are reproducing or reusing articles (internally or externally, digitally or in print), you will need a copyright licence.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), working with the NLA and CLA, has published a list of recommended licensing arrangements to help you understand which licence you may need.

news website on a laptop screen

If your PR agency has a licence, do you still need one?

If your PR agency has specified your business on their licence, they can share media clippings with you, and you are covered by copyright. However, if you then circulate these – internally or externally – in any form (eg saving to a shared drive, printing, forwarding the email), you will need a copyright licence for this.

You do also need a licence if you are receiving media clippings from a media monitoring organisation. However, this is a simplified licence that permits receipt of content from third parties (Web End User Licence).

What if you have provided the content to the media outlet?

This will depend on the agreement with the individual publisher. However, more often than not, once you have provided copy to a media outlet, you are assigning copyright to them.

This means that if you wish to share the content, for example via your website or social media, you will need a copyright licence to do so.


How can you share content without an NLA or CLA licence?

The simplest way to share content without an NLA or CLA licence is by sharing a direct link to the published piece. For example, you can publish a social media post up with a caption about the article, including the direct link to the article at the end of the post.

You can also use ‘as featured in’ or ‘as seen on’ sections on your website or social media to show where your organisation has received external coverage.


For more information, visit the Newspaper Licensing Agency or Copyright Licensing Agency.


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