SOAS University of London

How to comply with copyright when scanning material to the Bloomsbury Learning Environment

Please read this update regarding the development of a new Library service for scanning extracts of published works for student reading.


SOAS has a HE Copyright Licence Notice (pdf; 93kb)   which enables staff to scan extracts from a large number of published works and share these extracts with students. This guide is for staff who want to include such extracts as part of their course material on the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE).

The following steps will ensure that the material used in your modules is compliant with the terms of the Licence:  

1. Register as a ‘designated person’ who is authorised to scan under the CLA Licence

Complete the CLA Designated Person Form (msword; 36kb) and return it to This only needs to be done once.

2. Review your modules on the BLE every year

Before the start of each academic year, review the readings you use in your modules. If you will not be running a course, make sure that you delete all copies of previously scanned readings, both from the BLE and anywhere else that you retain a copy. If you are running the course again but will not be using any of the readings, delete them.

3. Identify the texts that you want to use for each of your modules

Try and avoid “textbook substitution”: eliminating the need for students to purchase a standard textbook on the subject by covering the same topics with the range of readings provided.

4. Check whether texts are covered by the CLA Licence

The easiest way is to use the CLA’s Title Search system.

The CLA also provides guidance on what can be copied and what can’t be copied.

If you can’t copy the work under the CLA Licence, you may still be able to use it under the copyright exceptions for educational use.

Reproducing electronic versions of texts: the CLA Licence allows copies of texts that are already in electronic form (eg on an external website or in an e-journal) in some circumstances. For journals, this will depend on whether SOAS subscribes to it and the associated terms. For articles on an external website, you should check the terms and conditions of the website. In most cases, however, you should just provide a link to the online page or electronic article as this will avoid any copyright issues.

5. Make sure that SOAS owns a copy

You can’t scan the text for teaching purposes if SOAS doesn’t own a copy of the book – even if you personally have a copy. Check the Library catalogue.

From 2015/16 onwards, you are no longer limited to only scanning the latest edition of a book as was previously the case under the terms of the CLA Licence. This means that you are free to copy from the most recent or from an earlier edition as preferred.  

6. Scan no more than the limits permitted under the CLA Licence

You are only allowed to scan one chapter, article or other item in a volume, or extracts up to 10% - whichever is greater, for each course module (if you will be using the same text for several courses, you need to register each one with – see step 8).   

If the chapter makes up a large proportion of the book, it is unlikely to be allowed.

If you want your students to read more than the permitted limit, you should ask the library to order enough copies of the books for students to borrow.

7. Complete and insert a copyright notice cover sheet before scanning

Make sure that a completed CLA Copyright Cover Sheet (msword; 45kb) is placed at the front of the text so that it is the first thing students will see when they open the document.

8. Send a copy of the completed copyright notice cover sheet to

Send the form completed under step 7 to The table in the form must be fully completed as this information is used to provide the School's annual return to the CLA.

9. Upload newly scanned texts to your BLE module

If you want to add any new texts to an existing BLE module, you must go through steps 4-8.  


For further advice, contact the Information Compliance Manager at