NLA media access 2013 company report

Today I am pleased to announce the publication of the NLA’s 2013/14 annual review.  News Value gives an update on another successful year for the team at NLA media access. 

We have been busy delivering licensing and database solutions, whilst also embarking on a major expansion into the magazine publishing sector.  The report also details work with industry and government on the Copyright Hub, and how our charitable donations help young journalists kick-start their careers.

We are pleased to report that publisher revenue grew 7.3% this year, to £25.9 million.  This allowed us to support the equivalent of 1,100 jobs in journalism – an addition of sixty six jobs on the previous year.

Ours is a small but important part of the £10bn publishing industry contribution to the creative economy.  But the wider importance of NLA media access and other collective management organisations’ role in enabling commercial use of copyrighted content  should not be underestimated.  

Thanks go to the guest contributors featured in this year’s report; Andrew Horton of IPC media, Brian McCarthy of Archant, Khaleda Rahman of Mail Online and Sandra Chastanet, from CFC our partners in France.

Please read on.


A convention of spiritualists

According to Tom Stoppard ‘the media’ sounds like a ‘convention of spiritualists’.  In that a positive piece of media coverage can be reincarnated, used for promotional purposes and provide value, long after its first publication date, the statement has some truth, don’t you think?

If you are the company who has received the positive press in targeted publications, be they magazines, newspapers or on-line, only you will know the true value to your company or client. In your consideration and enthusiasm to post a scanned clip or text extract from a hard won publication, remember that the piece belongs to someone. In this case, it’s the magazine or newspaper publisher.

If like many others, you want to use the positive press piece as promotional collateral and extend its lifespan, by posting it on your website, Facebook page, Twitter and other social media you’ll need to acknowledge the publisher. 

You can do this by either:

-          asking explicit permission from each individual publisher.

-          or purchasing a licence from a collective licensing organisation like ourselves, giving you advance permission to post articles from multiple publications – prices start @ £158.00 per licence.

Recently NLA has had some Twitter comments from PR agencies surprised that NLA has contacted their clients, advising them of a licence requirement for re-use of published content. Whilst we appreciate that some companies are surprised, our role is to advise them of their obligations and offer solutions.  We will continue to make those calls and provide that advice. You can also refer your clients to our blog and website for further information on what we do, and how to get in touch with directly with publishers.

(You might also find this article, on simply linking to news stories of (commercial) interest as it provides guidance on what is (generally) permissible without the need for a licence or publisher permission.


Cutbot Ltd and NLA media access Copyright Tribunal issues final decision

The Copyright Tribunal has today given its decision on the reference made by the online media monitoring service Cutbot.  The decision confirms an earlier order by the Copyright Tribunal, made in May 2012, which approved the terms of NLA’s licensing following the original challenge by Meltwater Group.

The Tribunal has:

  • Upheld all of the licensing terms relating to the NLA media access Web Database Licence (WDL) for media monitoring agencies that were disputed by Cutbot.
  • Confirmed that the licence fees are fair and reasonable.

Key points made by the Copyright Tribunal in coming to its decision include:

“There is no evidence that any licensee other than Cutbot finds the existing WDL tariff unacceptable, whereas there is evidence that a number of licensees find the existing WDL acceptable and do not wish to have that tariff changed.”

“Although Cutbot argued that the current structure acts as a barrier to entry to the market by small operators no evidence was presented by Cutbot to support this assertion.  There was however evidence that a number of licensees with fewer clients than Cutbot have taken out a WDL.  This is an indication that the fees are not acting as a barrier to entry by small players into the market.”

“We do not consider that it would be reasonable for the copyright owners to receive nothing or very little by way of a licence fee simply because the licensee has few clients.”

David Pugh, Managing Director for NLA media access said:

“NLA media access is pleased that the Tribunal recognised the economic value of publishers’ editorial content and the value obtained by monitoring agencies in copying it in order to provide alerting and evaluation services to their clients. 

“The Tribunal observed that Cutbot was not supported in its objections by any other monitoring agencies, which is unsurprising as NLA arrived at these licence terms through thorough extensive industry consultation.

“This ruling reinforces the important principle that a fair price must be paid by organisations whose business model relies upon commercialising publishers’ copyrighted content.”


NLA media access first introduced web licences on 1st January 2010, giving media monitoring organisations (MMOs) and their clients the right to make commercial use of content published on newspaper websites.  Licensing affects those businesses that supply and receive headlines, text extracts and links to newspaper websites as a part of a paid-for media monitoring service.

In making its decision, the Copyright Tribunal noted that the rest of the media monitoring market, including Meltwater, was now being licensed under existing arrangements, following the earlier decision.  A list of the UK media monitoring agencies that have entered into the Web Database Licence can be found here

About NLA media access

Originally called the Newspaper Licensing Agency, NLA media access is owned by eight national newspaper companies and protects the publishing industry's copyright through collective licensing.   It now represents the rights of 1,400 national, regional and foreign newspapers, over 750 magazines and 1,100 + websites.

NLA media access gives permission for organisations to copy from an extensive range of newspapers, magazines and websites and provides database services to both media monitoring agencies and publishers. In 2013 more than 200,000 organisations relied upon NLA media access annual licences.

Eighty per cent of the company’s revenues are returned to the publishers to be invested back into the industry. In 2013 NLA media access revenues equated to the salaries of 1100 journalists.

For more information contact David Pugh or Andrew May on / 020 3542 1119



NLA vs Meltwater and Svensson vs Retriever – a clarification

The recent Svensson/Retriever decision by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on hyperlinking has inevitably drawn some incorrect comparisons with the NLA/Meltwater case.  As ever, the complex world of copyright court rulings can result in confusion for companies, publishers and internet users!

Below we explain the key differences between the Svensson case and the NLA/Meltwater case currently in the CJEU.

What was the Svensson/Retriever case about?

4 Swedish journalists working for the GoteborgsPosten newspaper took Retriever, a web aggregator, to court for copyright infringement for providing to their clients via their website links to articles appearing in the GP.  The journalists argued that this infringed their rights and they should be entitled to control the provision of links to their articles.  The Swedish courts referred to the CJEU the question as to whether or not a copyright owner can control provision on another website of a hyperlink to their work.

Essentially the CJEU answered in favour of Retriever.  The essence of their answer was that since the articles were already freely available to all internet users on the GP website, by providing links on their own website Retriever was not communicating the articles to a ‘new public’ and therefore not infringing copyright – even if recipients thought the material originated on the Retriever website.

How will this affect the NLA’s case with Meltwater?                                                

The CJEU’s answer in the Svensson case concerns the copyright owner’s right of communication to the public.  The NLA’s case with Meltwater concerns the copyright owner’s right of reproduction, which is a different right.  As a result, the CJEU’s answer in the Svensson case has no direct bearing on the NLA’s case with Meltwater. 

In the meantime, the Court of Appeal (CoA) judgment in the NLA’s case with Meltwater stands.  Only one aspect of that judgment, which concerns temporary copies made in a computer and on a computer screen when browsing, was appealed to the UK Supreme Court who, in turn, referred the issue to the CJEU.  It is not clear yet when the CJEU will consider the case – possibly this Autumn or Spring 2015.

OK, but how might this affect licensing of web content?

For web media monitoring organisations (MMOs)

Regardless of the CJEU’s answer in the Svensson case, MMOs such as Meltwater will continue to require a licence. 

This is because, quite apart from how and to whom they communicate web content, they still have to copy and index that web content which requires permission of the copyright owner under the reproduction right.  Even if an MMO changed its service so that it included only hyperlinks –it would still require a licence to copy and index NLA publisher content.  

For end users

The CJEU’s answer in the Svensson case concerns the communication of hyperlinks via websites to all Internet users.  It does not concern the reproduction of copyright content such as text extracts and/or headlines (including in the form of hyperlinks) that are communicated individually by email.  Therefore, where MMO reports are sent by e-mail, the end users receiving them will continue to require an NLA licence.  The Svensson case does not affect that requirement.

That will also remain the case, whatever the CJEU/Supreme Court ultimately decide in the NLA’s case with Meltwater/PRCA, because Meltwater has not appealed the CoA’s ruling that end users who receive MMO reports by e-mail require an NLA licence (so it is not in issue before the CJEU/Supreme Court).

As matters stand, the only circumstance in which end user licensing would be affected is if the CJEU/Supreme Court conclude that an end user does not require permission from a copyright owner to access their MMO reports via a web browser, as an alternative to receiving them by email. If that were to happen, an end user would not require an NLA licence to access their MMO reports via a web browser, although the NLA would seek to recoup the lost licence income from the MMOs by increasing their licence fees.  

Is the NLA trying to stop free use of sites that anyone can access with a browser?

No.  Publishers and NLA encourage access to publishers’ sites and sharing of information found there for non-commercial purposes.  NLA licences are concerned solely with commercial use of publishers’ content.  MMOs are paid by clients to find information relevant to their businesses.  By doing so, the MMOs in the UK enjoy a combined sales turnover of @ £100m per year.  NLA licences simply ensure that businesses pay a reasonable fee to ensure that journalism and a vibrant publishing sector are supported.


ClipShare: A vital resource for publishers and journalists

NLA media access is best known for licensing newspaper and magazine content to thousands of communications and PR professionals and supplying published content to media monitoring agencies through the eClips database service.   But the investment that national newspaper publishers have made in eClips also enables us to offer a range of data driven services to publishers themselves, including a cutting edge resource called ClipShare.

With over 40 million print articles from over 130 publications dating back to 2006,  ClipShare offers journalists at subscribing publishers access to news pieces in-page (viewable as they would appear on a printed newspaper spread).  The database is accessed by thousands of journalists researching stories every week and is a vital tool for publishers in keeping an organised, easily accessible record of the content they produce every year. 

ClipShare is having a major upgrade in 2014:

  • In the spring, a new search engine will reduce search times, ensuring sub-second results even for complex queries
  • In the autumn, the archive will include web as well as print-edition content
  • The print archive will expand further, with several magazine titles joining the database during the course of 2014
  • And finally, we are planning to extend the database ‘back in time’, by loading a text archive of national newspapers from 2001 to 2006

All of this adds up to a marvellous resource for the busy journalist working to a deadline.

News UK, Trinity Mirror, Associated Newspapers, Northern & Shell, Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, Johnston Press, Newsquest and FT journalists currently have access to ClipShare, but other publishers are expected to join before the year is out.

If you are a publisher or journalist and would like to know more about how to subscribe please contact our Publisher services Executive, Jenny Crewe  for more information.