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Copyright costs overstated;Letter

YOUR article on proposed European Union copyright legislation (TES, December 25) is welcome in its support of the licensing scheme operated by the Educational Recording Agency but is misleading in one or two respects.

The ERA has, since 1990, administered a statutory licensing scheme which enables schools to record radio and television programmes for educational use, under educational exemptions provided for in the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act.

Published tariffs for students in primary and secondary schools are currently more than 50 per cent less per pupil per annum than the pound;1 quoted in your article. Indeed, with the discounts negotiated under blanket licensing arrangements with local education authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, the true annual cost of the licence per pupil is closer to one third of this figure.

The ERA licensing scheme ensures teachers' unrestricted access to valuable broadcast resource material whilst providing a system to reward creators for the use of their work.

Helen Nicholson, Chief executive, ERA Ltd, New Premier House, 150 Southampton Row, London WC1

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