Using other people's content

Make sure you don't get into hot water by using other people's written content, images or branding

All published material is covered by the law of copyright

This includes text, logos, illustrations, computer programs, sound and film recordings, broadcasts and sheet music. Permission is generally required before copyright material can be reproduced.

Permission may not be required when:

  • an item is out of copyright, ie when the author has been dead for at least 70 years
  • an item is ‘traditional’ (and it is reasonable to assume that the author has been dead for at least 70 years)
  • you are quoting a very small extract as part of a review of the material, research or private study.

Anyone wishing to copy published material for a guiding purpose must contact each copyright holder requesting permission (preferably written) to reproduce the material.

Girlguiding content

Reproducing Girlguiding materials

In general, permission is required to photocopy or otherwise reproduce any part of a Girlguiding publication (printed or electronic). However, Girlguiding gives permission for photocopies to be taken by members of Girlguiding, or their parents, from its publications provided that:

  • the copy is for the use of a member of the Association in connection with their guiding activities
  • only a brief extract from the publication is copied – normally this will involve a copy of no more than two or three pages
  • the photocopy is not of an extract for which copyright is claimed in the publication itself on behalf of an individual or organisation other than Girlguiding.

Where Girlguiding owns the copyright, permission to reproduce material must be obtained before use. Contact us for more information.

Use of Girlguiding trademarks

Girlguiding has protected as far as possible the use of certain terminology and designs. These are registered trademarks and may not be used by any manufacturer on any goods for sale without written permission, as outlined in the Brand Usage and Trademark Infringements document.

Other people's content

Written content

If you want to copy text from an existing publication, you need to provide the following information to the original publisher.

  • The exact name of the material and, in the case of an extract, the number of words.
  • The name of the author(s).
  • The name of the book, magazine or other source where the item has been published.
  • The number of copies that will be made.
  • Whether it is likely that the publication will be reprinted, and if so how often and how many copies at each reprint.
  • The type of publication in which the material will appear.
  • Whether or not the publication is to be sold.
  • If it is to be sold, the selling price and details of the beneficiary(ies) of the money received from the sale

Addresses for most British publishers are given in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, which may be available at your local library. The author of a collection of works (for example, a poetry collection) may not own the copyright for individual items. In this case, you can usually find their details in the acknowledgements. If no address is given the holder can typically be contacted through the publisher.

When producing a publication that uses copyrighted content, proper acknowledgements must always be given, including the name of the item, its author, the publisher and the name of where it was originally published in the case of articles. Sometimes acknowledgement text is supplied by the copyright holder, who may stipulate where this must appear. Finally, a copy of the publication in which the copyright material appears should be sent to the copyright holder once it has been produced.


Copyright law exists to protect music, and affects all premises owned or used by Girlguiding. If you play recorded music, perform live music or screen music videos in a venue, you need a licence.

Leaders must check that the premises they are using for guiding have a licence before undertaking any musical or performance activities. Failure to obtain a licence may be a breach of copyright and could result in prosecution.

The rules differ depending on the type of venue and the type of music.

  • Community buildings: In order to be able to play music in a community building, owners and management committees need to apply for a Community Buildings Joint Licence from PRS.
  • Other buildings: Some venues and spaces used by Girlguiding may not meet the 'community building' criteria. In this case, it will be necessary to contact PRS and PPL to obtain two separate licenses at two separate tariffs.
  • Campsites and campfire songs: There is no need to purchase a licence for singing traditional campfire songs. However, should more popular music be played or performed we would advise the purchase of a one-off licence.
  • Hymns and church songs: Playing and performing hymns and church songs is covered by standard PRS and PPL licences. However, if you wish to reproduce the words of church songs and hymns in print, you will need to apply for a licence from Christian Copyright Licensing.

Non musical entertainment

If you are performing a play or screening a film you must contact the original publisher before the event to:

  • obtain permission
  • determine the amount of the royalty payment and to whom it should be made.

Make sure to let them know:

  • the exact name of the material
  • the name of the author(s)
  • the date(s) and description of the event(s), venue(s), audience(s), and number of performances at which the publication will be used.
  • if tickets will be sold, how much will be made and who will receive the money.


When you buy or rent a film to watch at home, the first thing you see on the screen is a copyright notice. It informs you that ‘this film is for home viewing only’ and warns that you will be breaking copyright law if you show it anywhere else. But sometimes you want to watch a film at a unit meeting, at an event or on a trip. What do you do?

Luckily, Girlguiding has it covered. We have arranged a licence with the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) which allows our members to show films without breaking any copyright laws. There are some terms and conditions:

  • films can be shown to members of Girlguiding and members’ parents only
  • you have to buy or rent the film legally – no pirate copies
  • you can’t charge any admission fees
  • you can’t advertise or publicise the film screening to the general public.

No fees may be charged to view the film. You may include films as part of a larger event as long as the films are not screened outdoors and the event involves no more than 200 attendees. Larger events and outdoor events have to be licensed separately.

This licence covers films produced by many major companies, apart from Warner Brothers and Sony for which you must seek your own licence. Checking whether the film you want to show is covered by the licence is very simple: just call or email the MPLC (01323 649647 or [email protected]), and their advisers will look it up for you. The list of companies covered changes constantly so it is important to contact MPLC every time you show a film.

You are responsible for checking the age rating on the film and you must make sure it is appropriate for your group.