How to Apply for Permission for Published Materials

Step 1: Once you have determined that permission is required to include copyrighted works in your event or document, the following steps will be necessary.

Obtain information for the source of the copyrighted work:

  • Author of original work
  • Journal title
  • Article title
  • Volume number
  • Year of publication
  • Page range for article
  • Image specifics (i.e, page number, figure number)

Gather information about your intended program or “use”:

  • Title of intended use (program or publication title)
  • Author/presenter of intended use
  • Date of intended use
  • Meeting date or 3-6 months for journal use
  • Journal circulation or number of attendees at your live meeting

Format for use: print, electronic, or both

Need to specify if smartphone app, iPad, Website, etc.

Step 2: Once all information about the copyrighted work has been gathered and aspects of the intended program or “use” have been identified, you are ready to submit to the publisher, CLA or CCC for permission.

Most journal publishers have web-based ordering via RightsLink ( attached to each article online (often found on the right side of  the web page). This is provided by the Copyright Clearance Centre.


“Permissions” allow reuse of copyrighted work for specific purposes (i.e. “Use”).

Permissions are sought for a specific use or purpose (see examples below):

  • Print = single use (e.g. printed program at live meeting)
  • Slide = single use (e.g. presenter’s slide at live meeting)
  • USB = single use (e.g. flash drive for attendees)

Each unique use requires separate permission; in this example, 3 separate permissions must be requested if one copyrighted figure is included in all 3 media.

The number of recipients of handouts, number of slide views, and number of USB drives to be distributed, which may all differ, must also be estimated.

Permission must be sought for translation into a different language, but can be sought as part of the permission request defining the specific use.

Open Access

Some articles are “Open Access”. The definition of this varies by publisher and by licence. Essentially, “Open Access” articles are research articles which are available online, immediately and free. In addition, this gives rights to use these articles without restrictions for personal or educational use; this may include free commercial use.

If an article is not “Open Access” you will need to apply for permission to “use” the article.


The CLA Pharmaceutical Licence allows print and digital copying of publications published in the UK and 38 international territories. It covers copying from digital e-books, journals and website plus print books, journals and magazines. The licence:

  • Allows copies of 1 article, chapter or 5% of the total, whichever is greater
  • Permits circulation of press cuttings or fee-paid documents in digital or print form
  • Allows the external sharing of single licensed digital and print copies for medical information, legal proceedings, regulatory submissions and patent applications
  • Permits storage of digital copies in a local product or project based database (including long term dim archives for regulatory purposes)
  • Allows outsource permissions to an onsite or offsite third party contractor

The licence provides annual blanket copying cover, meaning that permission does not have to be sought from copyright owners each time a copy is made.

Although the licence will cover any employee, the fee that is paid is based on the number of ‘Professional Employees’.  (, 2020).

The CLA also offers a Multinational Pharmaceutical Licence for companies headquartered outside of the UK, and an extended version of the Multinational Pharmaceutical Licence for customers who are headquarteredin the UK.

The CLA and Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC) Joint Multinational Copyright Licence

The CLA collaborates with its US partners, the CCC, to offer this licence. It is designed to provide consistent annual cover for all of a company’s employees at locations around the world. It has the same benefits as the CLA Pharmaceutical Licence, but also extends permissions to a company’s overseas sites and employees so they can enjoy the same rights globally. This licence is available to companies with UK headquarters.

Pharmaceutical Collaboration Licence

This licence can be obtained as an upgrade to either of the two previous licences. It has the same benefits as the CLA Pharmaceutical Licence, but allows companies to legally share licensed copies with other organisations holding relevant CLA and CCC licences.

The Copyright Licencing Agency (CLA)

The CLA ( ) was founded in 1983 and is a licensing body as defined in the Copyright Designs & Patents Act.

The CLA’s mission is to:

“…help customers legally access, copy and share the published content they need, while also making sure that copyright owners are paid fair royalties for the use of their work.” (, 2020).

The CLA issues licences to organisations that want to copy and re-use published work. The CLA is a not-for-profit organisation, and its revenue is distributed to its member organisations who pay royalties directly  to copyright owners. (, 2020).


Accessibility of copyrighted works

Most copyrighted materials can be easily accessed, particularly on the internet.

Availability DOES NOT mean the material is ‘free’ or that you can use it without seeking copyright permission.

This includes photographs and images.

Why is copyright compliance important?

Compliance is legally required and ethically mandated.

Infringement of copyright or piracy can lead to litigation, fines and, in the most serious cases, imprisonment (, 2020).

Landmark case:

In April 2009 four people responsible for The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing resource website, were found guilty of copyright infringement and were each given 1 year prison sentences. They also had to pay £3 million in damages to the affected stakeholders. (, 17 Apr 09).

Who is the copyright holder?

The copyright holder is the person who produces the original work, e.g. author, photographer, artist etc. However, if a piece of work is completed by an employee as part of their employment, the copyright owner will be the employer (, 2020).

If an individual owns the copyright of their work, then they are permitted to license its use, and decide how it is used. Copyright holders are also permitted to register their work with a licensing body, who will agree licences with users on their behalf and collect royalties. (, 2020).

The Crown holds the copyright for all material produced by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies in the course of their work (, 2020). Examples include White Papers and NICE Reports.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is one of the four main types of intellectual properties:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyright
  • Trade Secrets

It is a legal form of protection covering any work in a fixed, tangible format, including:

  • Print
  • Digital
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Internet

Each of these materials is copyright protected from the moment that they are put into a tangible format. A material is automatically protected: it does not need to be specifically registered as copyrighted material or bear the copyright © symbol to be protected (, 2020).

Copyright protects authorship and publication and gives legal rights to the originator of the material (, 2020).

You must seek “permission” to use, copy or adapt a copyrighted work (, 2020).


As a medical information provider, you may be asked to provide copies of images, posters and clinical papers during your day-to-day work.

If you also review medical or marketing materials, any claims will need to be substantiated, as stipulated in clause 7.5 of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Code of Practice. Permission must be granted in order to provide a copy of an external document which is protected by copyright. In the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) code of practice review, November 2001 (, the following statement was made: “copyright problems cannot be used as a valid reason for failure to substantiate”.

This training course will discuss:

  • Why obtaining permission to use or adapt works protected by copyright is important
  • How you can make sure that you are compliant.