The NLA media access annual report, published today provides an overview of activity and financial results for the financial year ending December 2014 and a preview of new projects and services for 2015.

In 2014, publisher revenues increased significantly. The major contributor to that growth came from magazine licensing, as 2014 was the first full year of licensing the print and web edition content for ‘magazine’ publishers, but revenues earned for publishers of national and regional newspapers also grew in the year.

New database services for publishers and media monitoring agencies will be rolled out or expanded during the course of 2015. Media monitoring agencies and their clients will benefit from the new Article Impact Measurement service, enabling them to track readership and social media discussion of web-published articles on news sites. An increasing number of publishers are now using the Online Article Tracking Service, which identifies copyright infringement on the web and publishers will also benefit from the launch of a new version of the ClipShare service for journalists, which is due to be launched in the second quarter of 2015.

Royalties paid to publishers in 2014 equated to the cost of employing 1,300 journalists.

In 2015 we will continue our commitment to supporting journalism, not only by striving to increase revenue, but through our support of the Journalism Diversity Fund – where our total contribution will break through the £1m level this year as we celebrate the Fund’s 10-year anniversary.

 All of these points and a great many more are covered in the report.


NLA analysis shows regional newspapers growth

Newsprint decline, particularly regional, is a popular topic by industry commentators (“Regional newspaper titles suffer yet more substantial sales declines”, here), and while we have no opinion on the broader debate,  NLA media access does have a unique position to assess pagination and article trends across a vast number of UK newspapers due to the hosting of content in our eClips database.

The results might be surprising. As this chart below shows, while national news pages are declining, the regional press is on the up, and 2013 versus 2014 was no exception. Take a couple of examples:  the Halifax Evening Courier pagination was up 32%, and article counts up 11%, while the Islington Gazette had pagination up 16% and article counts up 14%. Impressive stuff.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising to some avid readers of local news. Brits spend 85% of their life within 10 miles of where they live – interest in local news is bound to be there.

Many local papers have great brand strength and are investing in new ways to tie in readers. 2014 saw the launch of London Live TV, possibly helping out its print partner the London Evening Standard - daily readership of the ES recently grew by more than a third in  the past 12 months (Source: National Readership Survey).

My local paper, the Gravesend Messenger (part of the KM Group) ties me in across multiple platforms. I can engage directly with its journalists and other readers through social media, and follow breaking news on its website before enjoying full stories in the weekly print edition. KM Group’s investment in their brands seems to be transitioning to their collective licensing revenues. In the last five years, NLA royalties paid back to KM Group have doubled.


Gaffs and Graphs – Using AIM to measure political impact

So who dug the biggest PR hole and jumped into it;- the car crash Green leader who couldn’t price a housebuilding pledge or the venerable foreign secretaries seeking a nice little earner? Our PR team at Open Road – Blue Rubicon have been using the NLA AIM service to measure reaction to the two major political stories last week, which they have posted on their blog here. It’s well worth a read in itself, and shows how smart PRCs could be using the new service to derive unique insights from the unique page view data AIM now offers.

NLA are delighted with market reaction to AIM. We are planning a round table for leading PRCs at News UK’s fabulous new Baby Shard HQ. Watch this space.


Headline: Accessible without cost = Free to use?

It’s not unusual for NLA media access to get a ‘huh?’(or indeed less polite) response from businesses when we ask: ‘do you have permission from the copyright owner to re-publish articles on your company’s website and social media pages?’

Because it’s so easy to do and because the content is often accessible without cost, you could be mistaken in believing you are free to use it.

In this blog post, I’ll attempt to clarify the position with respect to business use.

The basic principles are straightforward and there are three common forms of business use, which I cover in turn.

  1.  Re-publishing a complete article

Unless a publisher website provides permission in its terms of service, or you otherwise gain permission (via a licence) it is not legal to republish a complete work (e.g. an entire news article) that is protected by copyright.  Just because the content was accessible without cost, does not mean you are free to use it.

 If you want to copy an article on your business’s web and social media pages, you can obtain permission from the relevant publisher or licensing body representing them.  NLA represents 1430 news and 1406 magazine titles and grants permission to businesses for the re-use of anything from one article from a single publication (£154.00) to tens of articles from multiple publications. 

  1. Summarising the article and linking back to the original on the publishers website

As long as the summary and link are attributed correctly and they simply act as a sign-post to the original online article, your business does not need publisher permission, or a licence to do this.  However, be mindful that reproduction of even a few words from the article in the summary or link could constitute infringement.  To limit this risk you should not reproduce any part of the article.

  1. Re-using part of or quoting from an article

If you simply want to use an excerpt from the article, what’s the copyright position?

Even if the work is protected by copyright, there are certain circumstances under which you can use quotations without having to get the permission of the copyright owner – as set out in S30 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. The key points are that: (a) you can only quote as much as is required for the specific purpose; (b) you give sufficient acknowledgement to the source of the quotation; (c) the use of the quotation is fair dealing.   ‘Fair dealing’ is not a defined term so whether or not your use of a quotation falls under the exception is subjective.  If in doubt as to whether the exception applies to your use, then please seek advice from our licensing team or consult your company lawyer.

In short, if your business wants to re-use someone else property it’s both polite and legally prudent to get permission!

Further independent advice can also be found on the Intellectual Property Office website


Copyright Infringement - a Wider View

Last week NLA media access hosted an industry roundtable looking at how the creative industries are fighting the rising tide of online copyright infringement. Following that, we felt it would be useful to share our experiences in a bit more detail.

What’s the scale of the problem for newspaper publishers?

In a typical week, over 13,000 articles from 5 major UK newspapers are cut and copied into other sites. These are often professionally-run sites supported by advertising and ecommerce services. One site alone took 488 articles in one week.

Who copies newspaper content?

NLA has established that the majority of sites infringing copyright were news and sport sites. Specialist sector, travel and tourism, academic, entertainment, blog/forum, independent/non-commercial sites were also infringing although at a lower volume.

We have also found that focusing on one nominally located domain type (e.g. ‘.uk’) fails to capture the whole problem. Of the 100 sites we recently reviewed that were infringing UK content, only 16 % were ‘.UK’ domains, 67% ‘.com’ and the remaining 17% other types (e.g. ‘.org’, ‘.net’ etc.).

What protections do publishers currently have?

In addition to brokering a deal in infringement between ISPs and the film industry, the UK government has funded a police unit (PICPU) to track and enforce copyright. The EC is also looking to provide support for anti-piracy initiatives. The creative industries have direct initiatives including the Publishers Association Copyright Infringement Portal and the long established PAFCT programme amongst many others.

Our response – OATS

NLA has developed a copyright infringement management service for publishers, which we call OATS (Online Article Tracking System). OATS uses web search technology to identify where newspaper articles are republished online, wrapped in a managed service where NLA also acts to enforce publisher rights on behalf of newspapers.

At the first stage sites identified as re-using content from the publishers are encouraged to link legitimately or to seek a licence from the content owner. If there is no response to the initial approach cease and desist letters are sent where appropriate.

More information on OATS can be read here

Why publishers invest in OATS

Direct returns from copyright infringement monitoring may be limited but publishers who invest in content realise compliance is necessary to protect their business. There is also a ‘hygiene’ benefit, letting the market know the owner is watching their activity and encouraging legitimate use.

At a wider level simply knowing what is happening to content on the web creates insights that allow publishers to better target compliance efforts.

Our success to date

A year on from the launch of OATS, it is already proving a valuable resource. Five national newspaper publishers are now paying NLA to identify and manage communication with infringing websites on their behalf, saving both time and resource.

To date, NLA has contacted in excess of 500 domains with a 75% success rate of removal of infringed content.

Industry response

Sophie Hanbury – Content Partnership Director, The Telegraph

“Working with OATS reiterates The Telegraph's commitment to protecting the copyright of our valuable news content whilst reinforcing a consistent strategic approach to our metered digital products and paid services. OATS has been highly effective in the drive to police large-scale systematic infringements and works in tandem with our Legal and Syndication teams to reassure our commercial partners that the contracted products and services they pay for are valuable, of a high quality and worth protecting.”

Helen Wilson – Content Sales Manager, Syndication, The Guardian

“Using OATS has enabled Guardian News & Media Ltd to contact a much higher number of sites who are currently misusing our content online. The weekly report provides rich metadata as to the type of site misusing content, the type of content which they are taking, in addition to the frequency of the misuse. Being a member of OATS has significantly reduced the time spent by the Sales team contacting copyright infringers, enabling them to focus their energies on new sources of revenue generation.”

More information

For more information on NLAs work with OATS, please contact George Shepherd at or 0207 332 9367