Under UK copyright law you are only allowed to copy an insubstantial amount for personal use for the purposes of private study or non-commercial research, but the law does not define ‘insubstantial’. There is no magic figure or percentage applied as each case would be viewed on the basis of the perceived importance of the extract rather than simply the quantity.

A Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) license allows multiple photocopies from books, journals and magazines. Extracts can be up to 5%, one chapter or one article, whichever is the greater.

The licence costs £60 and runs until 31st July each year, regardless of when you actually take it out.

NB: This licence does not allow multiple copies of maps, charts, newspapers or printed sheet music including the words.
There is no blanket licence available to multiple copying of sheet music; this is always illegal unless it is no longer in copyright.  There is some free sheet music available on the internet at choral public domain ( and this will give you links to other useful sites.

If you feel you need to have a license to cover your activity, submit a request to the Committee for consideration.

Digital Images

The same principles and legislation which govern copyright in hard-copy apply to material in electronic formats. The main difference is that, by their nature, they are easy to access, copy and distribute. Information is freely available via the internet but this does not mean it is free to copy; there is a common misconception that anything on the internet is in the public domain i.e. publicly accessible and therefore free to use. A work only falls into public domain once copyright expires. One option is to search for images published under a Creative Commons (CC) Licence. CC is a non-profit organisation that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. CC licences do not replace copyright but are based upon it and allow sharing for non-commercial use.