Skip to Main Content

Copyright, Licensing and GDPR: Education Recording Agency (ERA) Licensing Scheme

TV and Radio On Demand (Box of Broadcasts)

We subscribe to a service called Box of Broadcasts, which requires an ERA licence to permit recordings of broadcasted programmes and use them for non-commercial and educational purpose.  More information about Box of Broadcasts can be found here.

The ERA Licensing Scheme

The University’s ERA licence permits us to record off-air and make copies of broadcasts by ERA’s members (including the main terrestrial channels), for personal non-commercial and educational use.

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

Licence Restrictions

The 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 charge to see the performance.

  • the adaptation or modification of a programme.For example, separating the original soundtrack, or adding subtitles.

What the Licence Covers

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

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

  • BBC television and radio

  • Channel 4, E4 and/or Film Four

  • Channel 5

  • Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS)

  • ITV Network Limited, ITV 1, STV, ITV 2, ITV 3, ITV 4, ITVBe, ITV Encore and CITV

  • Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Limited (MCPS)

  • Open University Worldwide Limited

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 marked with an ERA notice, the name of the source, the date upon which the recording was secured by and the title of the programme or clip; and within all ERA Recordings held in digital formats an opening credit or webpage must also be viewed or listened to before access to the ERA Recording.

The ERA Licence permits access to UK based students only.  Recordings may be embedded in power point presentations as long as the Licence conditions are met.

Broadcasts in Public Viewing Screens

Under the terms of our Television Licence, we can show live broadcasts on our public viewing screens.  However, we should take notice of the Watershed guidance by OfCom about showing unsuitable material at certain times.

Watershed guidance stipulates that we should not show unsuitable material before 9 pm and after 5.30 am in order to protect children from harmful material on television (and radio).

Unsuitable material can include everything from sexual content to violence, graphic or distressing imagery and swearing. For example, the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed on television (or on radio), when children are particularly likely to be listening. Frequent use of offensive language must be avoided before the watershed, and must always be justified by its context.

Film clubs, societies, student union events, etc.

For the avoidance of doubt, if you intend to show films, whether you charge a fee or not, then you will need to take out a licence from a licensing body representing copyright owners.  Film Bank is one such example of a licensing body which grants permissions to show films which are not for educational purpose.

Film Bank operates the Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL) which is an umbrella licence for non-theatrical market to cover the public screening or performance of films by participating studios/distributors as rights holders.

Film Bank offers 2 licences:

  1. an umbrella (annual screening) licence

  2. a title by title licence

The type of licence required by a university film club, society, etc will basically depend on two things:

  1. The nature of the audience admitted to screenings, and

  2. Whether or not there is a charge for admission.

Further details about the licences and the participating studios and distributors are available on the  Film Bank site.