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ERA offers additional licence opportunity

Since 1 August 2007 ERA has offered its licensees the opportunity to take out an additional licence which will enable licensed ERA Recordings to be accessed by students and teachers on line whether they are on the premises of their school, college or university, or at home or working elsewhere within the UK.

The new licence is called the "ERA Plus Licence".

Who can take out an ERA Plus Licence?

Only educational establishments, or bodies acting on behalf of educational establishments which hold ERA Licences will be eligible to take out ERA Plus Licences.

This is because the right to record broadcasts for non-commercial educational purposes by making ERA Recordings will continue to be governed by the terms of the ERA Licence.

The ERA Plus Licence extends rights granted by ERA Members to authorise licensed ERA Recordings to be accessed by students and teachers online from outside the premises of their establishment when at home or working elsewhere across the UK.

How much does it cost?

The annual tariff for licences is calculated taking into account the number of full-time or full-time equivalent students who have the benefit of an ERA Licence.

If discounts have been applied to calculation of fees paid under an ERA Licence because blanket licences have been taken out, the same discounts will be offered to bodies which extend the blanket licence arrangements to cover ERA Plus.

Applicable annual tariffs for ERA Plus are :

For licences taking effect on or after 1 April 2013
Primary/Preparatory school students
Secondary school students
Further Education students
Higher Education students

For licences taking effect from 1 April 2011
Primary/Preparatory school students
Secondary school students
Further Education students
Higher Education students

For licences taking effect from 1 April 2009
Primary/Preparatory school students
Secondary school students
Further Education students
Higher Education students




What other terms apply?

The ERA Plus licence is very much an extension of the ERA Licence itself.

Download a full copy of the terms of the Licence.

Licensees will be required to have in place procedures to ensure that only "Authorised Users" will be able to gain access to ERA Recordings stored on the servers of a licensed establishment. The recordings cannot be posted for open access by people who are not Authorised Users or for any purposes other than educational use.


ERA licences have now been available for educational establishments for 17 years.

In that time the number of broadcast services from which licensed recordings can be made has increased exponentially.

At the same time, advances in technology have changed almost beyond recognition.

The concept of the "VHS trolley" moving between classrooms has given way to on-line access facilities for students linked to broadband services which would have been almost inconceivable 17 years ago.

ERA has therefore been discussing the ways in which its licensing scheme may be extended to enable students and teachers to access off-air recordings of broadcasts made by or for educational establishments for the non-commercial educational purposes of such establishments, whether the students or teachers are physically on the premises of the educational establishment, or not.

This sounds simple, but in terms of rights clearance, without ERA taking a positive role, the situation could be very complex.

This is because rights owners are generally individually entitled to expressly consent to a third party electronically transmitting files containing their work in ways that they are "communicated to the public".

Although the CDPA provisions, on which the ERA certified licence scheme is based, apply an educational copyright exception to off-air recordings being "communicated" for educational purposes within the premises of an educational establishment, the exception does not extend to "communication" beyond the premises of the school, college or university.

The thinking behind this reflects how rights owners are developing new business models for licensing the use of content "online".

An additional licence to facilitate off-site access to ERA Recordings

Since its establishment in 1989, ERA has grown to encompass a uniquely broad membership willing to mandate ERA to represent the copyright works relevant to licensing under section 35 and paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 CDPA.

For the benefit of both its members and its licensees, ERA has always attempted to keep the bureaucracy involved in licensing to a minimum, and has supported the issue of blanket licences for schools within the remit of Local Education Authorities to help minimise bureaucracy.

ERA has therefore tried to build on these benefits when developing the ERA Plus "add on" Licence enabling educational establishments to make the educational recordings of ERA Members' works covered by the ERA certified scheme available for educational purposes to students and teachers directly connected with the relevant educational establishment via a secure network.

Future change to copyright law to support ERA Plus licensing

Although an enormously broad range of rights is covered by any ERA Plus Licence (as mandated by ERA members participating in the certified scheme)2 , there is nevertheless a risk that there may be some rights included in the broadcasts of programmes from which ERA off-air recordings are made, which have not been "cleared" for the uses envisaged under the ERA Plus licence.

Where section 35 (2) and paragraph 6 (1B) of Schedule 2 apply, licensees do not need to worry about any "missing" rights unless a separate certified scheme exists. In practice the only other section 35 certified scheme has been that relevant to Open University programmes, which are easily identifiable.

As the law stands, ERA can give no such assurances as regards the "remote access" rights to be licensed in ERA members' repertoire under the ERA Plus Licence.

On the other hand, the risks to licensees over the "missing rights" clearances are likely to be low because of the broad spectrum of ERA representation. In any event such, risks exist in all areas where blanket licences from collecting societies are relied on. In that context, the ERA Plus Licence will have a significant value for licensees.

Possible changes to section 35 and ERA Plus

bearing in mind the broader social benefits which arise from educational copyright licensing, the members of ERA responded to the 2006 Call for Evidence by the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property by outlining possible options which could reduce the "missing rights" risk for licensees.

In December 2006 the Gowers Review published its recommendations. These included as "Recommendation 2" that steps should be taken "to enable educational provisions to cover distance learning and interactive whiteboards by 2008 by amending section 35.of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988".

The above Recommendation included the proposal that the scope of section 35, CDPA should be extended to apply to access within the scope envisaged by the ERA Plus Licence. ERA has subsequently responded to a number of consultations issued by the UK Intellectual Property Office linked to possible implementation of the Recommendation.

ERA expects that implementation of the Recommendation will increase the value of the ERA Plus Licence and enable ERA to streamline the bureaucracy for issuing licences, to help ERA continue to improve the services that it provides.