Reshuffles and IP ministers

Another reshuffle, another IP minister; last week the Government announced it would appoint Baroness Neville Rolfe as the BIS minister responsible for IP and copyright, replacing predecessor Viscount Younger of Leckie. 

Baroness Neville Rolfe is undoubtedly an experienced operator with an impressive career spanning politics and business.  But, the continuing change in post does create a bit of a disconnect and uncertainty for those of us in the business of protecting the rights of creators.

The Register’s Andrew Orlowski neatly outlines some of the challenges that the new IP minister will face and points out that we have now had four IP ministers in less than two years.   If you go further back in time the figure reaches a total of seven IP ministers in seven years.

Despite all this, it is of course good news that the Government continues to take IP seriously enough to have a responsible minister for the brief.   We hope that Baroness Neville Rolfe will take a long hard look at whether statutory instruments, a fast track method of altering copyright exceptions with limited parliamentary scrutiny, is wise given the sometimes unintended impact even small changes to copyright exceptions can have on the UK creative industries.


NLA and ideas

New ideas are essential to progress, and increasingly publishers are working together to share ideas that help us all adjust to the new digital publishing environment. NLA,  – representing thousands of publishers at both rights and data levels - is perfectly placed to help address the common challenges and opportunities that  have arisen. Feedback on the growing areas of NLA activity offers learnings that can help publishers decide what works and what doesn’t, and where to draw the line between direct and collective management.

NLA uses informal and small seminars as our preferred discussion environment, with publishers presenting to publishers on their experiences. So far this year we have sponsored four seminars with PPA, covering use of publisher content on corporate websites; copyright infringement; rights management; and content delivery services.  Turnout has been strong, involving representatives from a wide range of publishers from niche B2B titles to mass market consumer magazines.

Highlights have included;

Robert Hahn, Guardian, describing their innovative, class leading contributor rights management processes. Including how they managed to standardise their contributor terms and conditions to protect themselves against current licensing scenarios as well as future, as yet undefined, digital products.

Sophie Hanbury, Telegraph, discussing how their use of NLA copyright infringement tracking has cut online piracy and supported syndication, while helping to protect the value of their brand.

Fergus McKenna, Trinity Mirror, on use of content delivery technology to cut costs, extend content reach and increase revenues.

Presentations are either publically available from our site http://nlaroyalties.co.uk/blog/ or from NLA at royalties@nla.co.uk 

George Shepherd. NLA Publisher Relations Manager


Market changes in media monitoring

Karl Marx talked of the inexorable centralization and concentration of capital. Media monitoring, like other industries, has seen huge changes in the past 15 years.  Advanced technology has replaced scissors and glue, and businesses have invested to keep up with client demand for ever more sophisticated monitoring and evaluation services. In the UK and across the globe the much derided venture capital industry has provided the finance for major players to restructure their businesses, but now a wave of ownership changes have been announced or are in prospect.

Precise, UK no 2 by market share, has been sold to WPP-owned Kantar. Cision, a major international brand and formerly UK no 3  (then known as as Romeike -  one of the grand old names of press cuttings), is being bought and merged with Vocus, also US based  but a growing presence in the UK. Added to the mix, Gorkana (formerly Durrants) the UKs largest player, is for sale.  So it’s a good time for the money men. What does it mean for the clients?

The NLA view is that UK clients have been fortunate to have a vibrant and competitive media monitoring industry, with more suppliers and choice than in many other markets. An environment that encourages investment sustains that choice, as does a clear and simple copyright structure. The fact that MMOs can start a business in the UK with an NLA licence and the NLA eClips service has encouraged new entrants, some of which have grown to become major players. It is notable that countries where copyright is weakest have the poorest services for PR users, since without remuneration, publishers aren’t in a position to stump up multi-million pound investment in databases for MMO’s. But why would you invest when there is uncertainty over rights? Too much concentration of supply would be a concern, but, as with a fair number of Karl Marx’s predictions, we are some way from that.

So we think clients should welcome change, and the energy and investment that a new generation of owners will bring.  Bring it on. 


Playing copyright games

Earlier this month at the IP enforcement summit UK Music CEO Jo Dipple urged rights holders to do more to educate young people about copyright.

However often those young people, whether they be listening to music or reading a magazine online, are not all that keen to learn about a complex and hard to access subject.

Which is why we thought UK Music’s solution is brilliant.  They developed a mobile app and game ‘Music Inc’ which aims to both entertain young people and educate them about copyright and licensing within the music industry.   Launched jointly with the Government it helps explain the real effect piracy has on artists.  It has already been downloaded by 100,000 users – well beyond the normal audience of copyright enthusiasts!

Magazine and newspaper publishers often face similar difficulties in articulating the impact of piracy to an audience unaware frameworks are there to protect creators.  The internet has made it so easy to wholesale lift and copy content with little thought to the painstaking research, experience and effort brought to bear by the journalist who write it.

So hats off to Jo and UK Music for managing to illustrate this difficult issue in a visually engaging way.   We hope it has the intended effect.


Journalism diversity fund recipients win coveted places on BBC journalism training scheme

Two Journalism Diversity Fund recipients have fought off fierce competition from over 4,500 applicants to win two of just fourteen places on the prestigious BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme.

Sophie Mei Lan Slack, who completed a PgDip in journalism at University of Salford, and Megan Bramall, who studied on a fast-track course at News Associates, Manchester, will join the year-long paid training scheme in September.

Full details can be found on the Journalism Diversity Fund website.