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Library and Learning Services

The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licensing Scheme.

The University's ERA licence permits us to record off-air and make copies of programmes broadcast by ERA's members (including the main terrestrial channels), for non-commercial educational purposes. The Library provides a service to make available off-air recordings either for addition to library stock or for use by academic staff in faculties in support of teaching.

Please see our guide for updated information on this issue

The ERA Licensing Scheme

The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) operates a scheme on behalf of its members to license educational use of copyright protected material.

What the licence covers

An ERA licence permits educational establishments to record off-air, and make copies, for non-commercial educational purposes, of programmes broadcast by its members. It also permits electronic communication of licensed recordings within an educational establishment.

In general, the licence covers scheduled free to air broadcasts on:

  • BBC television and radio;
  • ITV Network services (including ITV 2 and ITV3);
  • Channel 4 and E4;
  • Five television;
  • S4C.

The licence does not cover on-demand and interactive services. However, broadcast programme services delivered via the internet at fixed viewing times are not on-demand services and may therefore be recorded.

Extracts, as well as whole programmes, may be recorded and held indefinitely for use at any time. All recordings made under the licence must be labelled with the date and title of the broadcast, name of the broadcaster, and the statement "This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the ERA licence". An inventory of recordings made must be supplied if required by the agency. UK-based registered students may borrow recordings, provided these are for educational use, but we are not allowed to supply recordings to students based overseas.

Recordings may be embedded in PowerPoint presentations as long as the Licence conditions are met.

Licence restrictions

An ERA licence does not permit:

  • the performance of recordings, other than for educational purposes, in front of a private or public audience, whether or not it has made a donation or payment to see the performance.
  • the adaptation or modification of a programme. For example, separating the original soundtrack, or adding subtitles, is not allowed.

The University does not currently subscribe to the ERA Plus Licence. This means that extracts from recordings cannot be incorporated into Blackboard modules, since access to recordings stored on a server by students at home, abroad, or anywhere off-site is not permitted.

Obtaining recordings

The Library provides a service to make available off-air recordings either for addition to library stock, OR for use by academic staff in faculties in support of teaching. This centralised service ensures that records are maintained in accordance with the terms of the licence. More details on the operation of this service can be found on the Library webpages under Off-air recording information.

Further information

Further information on the ERA licence may be found at its website. A booklet outlining the terms and conditions of the licence is also available to view online or order in hard copy.