£800,000 to secure copyright licence is 'money well spent' for UUK

April 12, 2002

Universities have won the copyright licence they wanted at the end of a tribunal believed to have cost almost £2 million.

Sol Picciotto, a member of the Universities UK negotiating team and head of law at Lancaster University, said it was "regrettable that we were only able to obtain a reasonable licence by going to the tribunal" but added that universities and staff had supported the case.

The Copyright Tribunal last week ordered the Copyright Licensing Agency to pay a quarter of UUK's legal costs. UUK's total costs are about £800,000.

The tribunal decided that the CLA's refusal to abandon the CLARCS clearing system for course-pack material was the main issue in the case.

With an estimated 1.2 million full-time students in higher education, Professor Picciotto said that the £4 per student blanket fee would cost universities about the same as the past £3.25 plus CLARCS fees.

"But the CLA had asked for an extra 65p per full-time student for illustrations," Professor Picciotto said. "So our total costs were actually covered by just one year's savings from not having to pay the additional fee for illustrations.

"We consider the money well spent and the outcome a great boost to higher education."

The tribunal also ruled that the CLA should have the right to go into universities to inspect the implementation of the licence, a point that UUK had contested at the final hearing.

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