Frequently asked questions

Please note that the following information on copyright is intended as a guide only. The information is not a comprehensive statement of the law and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

If you cannot find the answer to your query please contact the ERA office on or

The ERA Licence permits recordings of broadcasts to be made for non-commercial educational use.  This does not extend to subscription or pay per view services. The ERA Licence therefore covers scheduled free to air radio and television broadcast content. These are (but are not limited to):

  • BBC television and radio (BBC1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • ITV Network services (including ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, STV and UTV)
  • Channel Four, E4, More 4 and Film 4
  • Five television (including 5USA and 5Star)
  • S4C
  • AETN (History 1 & 2, Lifetime and Crime & Investigation)

Please also submit any questions you feel may be relevant to the FAQ page.

On behalf of its Members, ERA operates a Licensing Scheme for educational use of copyright protected content. The ERA Licence permits educational establishments to make or cause others to make copies of ERA Member’s content and to enable the ERA Recordings to be used for non-commercial educational purposes of licensed educational establishments. Terms and conditions of our Members’ online services (such as BBC iPlayer, All4 etc.) can cross-refer to the ERA Licence so schools can also use programmes from these services for educational purposes.

ERA licensed content can also be made available to students and staff off-site via a secure network.

At a time when digital services have become so vital in teaching and learning, ERA has been investing in new ways in which to support teachers through these difficult times by offering a range of digital services which can be accessed quickly and easily in the classroom and remotely.

ERA’s online resource provision for ERA licensed schools now includes:

  • Exclusive access to a video streaming service containing a vast and growing number of curriculum linked clips from the BBC archive and;
  • The Natural Curriculum resource for primary pupils ( which offers over 135 lesson plans based around BBC natural history clips for teaching literacy to pupils aged 8 to 11. Lessons for pupils aged 7 to 8 will be added in the coming weeks.

In the early spring the BBC Shakespeare Archive Resource, containing hundreds of hours of programmes related to Shakespeare and his plays, will transfer to the ERA website and therefore be available to all ERA licensed schools.

Further information available here.

Only “educational establishments” can take out an ERA Licence. Educational establishments are defined as schools (including independent schools) and other establishments specified by Orders of the Secretary of State under s 174 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. If you are in doubt about whether the definition applies to your institution, please contact ERA for clarification.

ERA licensed schools can access or download content from our Members’ online services. However, this usually means that permanent copies cannot be downloaded. Digital protections cannot be over-ridden.

Podcasts from our Members’ services that contain previously broadcast content may downloaded for educational use.

Materials directly accessed from YouTube are not supported by the ERA Licence. The Terms and Conditions of YouTube refer to ‘personal use only’.

Section 35 CDPA permits rights owners who are not ERA members to set up parallel licensing schemes covering the materials they own or represent but none have done so.

ERA has entered into agreements with a number of third party providers to enable them to make copies of ERA content and to make these available to ERA licensed educational establishments. These providers include (but are not limited to) Clickview, Planet eStream and Box of Broadcasts. Please contact ERA for further information.

Yes, extracts or parts of a programme may be recorded and then stored in either analogue or digital form.

No. Programme material must be used as it has been broadcast. This does not stop extracts or clips from programmes being used. However adaptation, amendment, distortion or mutilation of material is not authorised under the Licence.

Not specifically under the terms of the ERA Licence. However, provisions within The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014 may support educational establishments making accessible copies for the personal use of a disabled person in certain circumstances. Subject to this, the addition of subtitles or audio description to material recorded under the Licence is not permitted. However, subtitles and audio description broadcast with programme material can be recorded and should then be treated in the same way as other licensed recordings.

Registered students, teachers or other employees directly involved in the students’ education can watch or listen to them.

Programmes may only be recorded, retained, stored and copied by licensed establishments for non-commercial ‘educational purposes’. For clarification, here are some examples of excluded uses (some of which may be subject to other licensing schemes):

  • Showing recordings or films for entertainment purposes, whether or not the audience has made a payment or donation to see the performance.  This use may be may be covered by another licensing scheme.  You should contact MPLC or Filmbank for further information.
  • Including recordings or extracts in any corporate materials e.g. video, CD or DVD to promote the establishment, student societies or facilities within the establishment.
  • Using stills from recordings on the establishment’s website or in any other corporate materials e.g. a promotional prospectus.
  • Sale or commercial hire of recordings.

The ERA licence does not cover use for entertainment purposes such as film clubs/wet lunchbreaks etc. If your school wishes to show films for entertainment you may require a licence from MPLC or Filmbank and should contact these organisations to check.

No. Supplying recordings in either hard copy form or by electronic means to distance learning students outside the UK is not permitted under the ERA Licence.

Licence fees are calculated on an annual basis according to:

  • The type of educational establishments i.e. primary, secondary, further or higher etc.
  • The number of full-time (or full-time equivalent) students registered at the establishment.

Further information available here.