Frequently Asked Questions

The licence covers printed music publications which are described as:

“Published editions being graphic representations of Musical Works and/or any associated words or lyrics, printed on paper, including musical scores and/or parts, diagrammatic representations, tablature and other ways of representing musical sound and any editorial notes, historical notes or commentaries or other text included in the said published editions. For the avoidance of doubt this does not include Excluded Printed Music Publications, sound recordings neither does it include publications which are made available digitally and subsequently printed by any person.”

Text books made up primarily of text but containing musical examples are not Printed Music Publications. They are the subject of the CLA’s own licence.

Copies can be used only School Members – defined as “A pupil or member of staff of a School”.

The licence does not cover the making of the recordings themselves. That requires a licence from PRS for Music. You can use copies made under the licence while making such recordings provided that the recording is being made as part of school activity.

Yes, provided the school has organised the concert. See also the answer to “Does the licence cover school concerts and other public performances given by school pupils?”

Only if they have been organised by the school and are part of school activities.

Copies made under the licence can be used in concerts organised by the school. They may not be used in public performances organised by private individuals or organisations other than the schools itself.

No. The licence reduces the burden for schools. It means they don’t have to contact the publisher to apply for permission each time they want to copy from a printed publication.

Various authorities will be able to help a school find out their licensing status, depending on region:

• State-maintained schools in England are all covered via the Department for Education.
• State-maintained schools in N. Ireland are all covered via the Belfast Education Library Board.
• State-maintained schools in Scotland and Wales need to check with their Local Authority (LA) to see if they have opted to buy in to the scheme for schools in their region (CLA can also let schools know which LAs are covered).
• Independent schools should contact the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).

Schools pay the licence fee. When PMLL distributes the revenue to publishers it will make a charge to recover its costs. In the early years of the scheme this charge will be about 20%. This will reduce over time as the costs of setting up the scheme are recouped.

The licence covers the activities of an individual school. It does not cover copying for the purposes of taking part in activities organised at Music Hub level involving more than one school and copies made under the licence cannot be shared between schools.

Changes of key or simple changes of instrumentation. Arrangements that transform the nature of the work are not allowed.

Any printed music publication that the school owns.

Entire works except:
• Choral leaflets. These are defined as publications with a paper cover and fewer than 32 pages. (See Why is choral music treated differently?)
Examples include John Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’.
• Anthologies or large vocal scores where there is a limit of 10% on the items that can be copied (ie. one out of 10 pieces, not 10 pages from a 100-page anthology).
Examples include Carols for Choirs, Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Karl Jenkins ‘The Armed Man’, Beatles Complete, Hits of the Year.
• Excluded publications listed on the CLA website.

Copy can be taken to mean any of the following: photocopying, scanning, notation by hand, printing, digitising a printed original using notation software or scanning, making arrangements.

• Copies may be used for school purposes only.
• Copies may not be made for individual or group lessons teaching instrumental and vocal technique.
• No private use is allowed.
• Copies cannot be lent or hired out.
• Copies may not be used in collective worship. Licences for that purpose are available from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) (See What’s the difference between the SPML and other licences?)
• Arrangements must not change the character of the work and they should only be made for the practical purposes of making the work performable by the school’s instrumental and vocal groups.
• The lyrics may not be changed in any way.
• Schools should not use the SPML to avoid purchasing printed music under any circumstances.

The scheme covers all printed music sold or distributed in the UK, except choral leaflets and specifically excluded publications listed at Schools wishing to copy material in those listings can only do so with the express permission of the publisher.

Some music publishers may be included in both the CCLI and the SPML repertoires. These are the differences:

• If the printed music is being copied for use in collective worship, the CCLI Licence is required.
• If the printed music is being copied for any other school activity, the SPML is required.

Book, journals and magazines can be copied under CLA’s own Schools Licence.

Any school that wants to make copies of printed music should apply for the licence. As music is part of the national curriculum, it is unlikely a school does not use printed music at some stage. The licence is not compulsory – a school can continue to seek permission from the particular music publisher directly every time they wish to copy an item of printed music. It is, however, widely accepted that a blanket licence saves time and money for the majority of schools.

The SPML is only available to schools providing general education to pupils aged between 4 and 19. It does not cover LEA Saturday music schools, Further Education colleges, 6th Form colleges, Higher Education colleges or specialist music schools held outside normal school hours like Rock School or Stagecoach.

Once a school has a licence, any member of staff. This does include peripatetic music teachers but not for the purpose of teaching instrumental lessons either on a one to one basis or with groups of pupils.

CLA will distribute the money to PMLL, who will then distribute the money to publishers for them to share with the composers, songwriters, editors and arrangers of the publications copied. When the scheme is mature, the three most recent years of survey data will be used to work out the annual distribution. The royalties will then be divided proportionally among all the publications copied, depending on the number of pages copied and the number of copies made of each.

Choral leaflets are very keenly priced. If publishers are to continue producing such publications it is important that they are able to carry on selling multiple copies to schools. That is why choral leaflets are excluded from the licence and also why there are restrictions on the proportion of large vocal scores and anthologies that can be copied.

For similar reasons that there are restrictions on copying choral publications. If publishers are to continue producing high quality materials at a reasonable price for this market, it is important that pupils continue to buy their own copies.

The MPA has long known that unlicensed copying goes on in schools. We have tried for many years to encourage schools to apply to individual publishers for licences to copy printed music. It is now clear that this is not a practicable approach, since unlicensed copying in schools has continued.

Yes. Information about the printed music a school is copying will be collected by CLA as part of the annual survey of over 700 schools. Printed music will be added to the data requested by the CLA Survey Team. This data will be used to determine how the royalties are distributed and help examine the effect of the licence on the music publishing industry as a whole (see Who receives money from the licence and how will it be distributed?)

We don’t believe so. The licence is designed to cover most of the copying that schools already do. It is also designed so that it is clear what copying is allowed and what copying is not. Schools must own legitimately obtained copies of the music they want to copy. We understand that not every copy results in a lost sale and we want schools to be able to make the best use of the material that they buy. We think that the licence strikes a fair balance.