URLs and Licensing – UK position

As one of the Irish diaspora and a member of the UK’s NLA team involved in the Meltwater case, I have read the furore in Ireland with respect to commercial use of newspaper URLs, with some personal interest and professional enthusiasm.

For clarity, the current position in the UK amongst the majority of publishers is that the posting of links (excluding headlines & text extracts) on company websites is acceptable and does not incur a NLA licence charge.

On the other hand, if your company wants to take advantage of positive press and many do, the NLA now has a Corporate Website Republishing licence, which gives companies permission to post full articles, headlines and text extracts on their corporate websites and social media sites.

If your company has subscribed to an online media monitoring service and is receiving links to NLA newspaper content via this service, then a licence is necessary.  This area was the focus of the NLA legal cases over the course of the last few years.

It’s worth repeating that the core issue for newspapers is the unlicensed reproduction of content for commercial gain, not personal use or the mere use of URLs.

Susan Dowley

Director of Sales and Marketing, NLA


A festive exchange between the NLA and PRCA

Readers of CorpComms magazine will have received a guide to copyright law in their latest issue,  sponsored by the Newspaper Licensing Agency and designed to help PRs navigate the ins and outs of the licensing requirements for newspaper content. 

Here at the NLA we genuinely appreciate the PR industry’s support for newspaper publishers and the journalists they employ.  Our licences for press clippings, database access and other NLA services are a source of income much needed by newspaper publishers.

As our Infographic shows, NLA licence fees contribute the equivalent of 800 jobs in the newspaper industry, some in hard pressed regional and local titles. These journalists then in turn create the written content which provides the publicity the PR industry thrives on.
We were therefore disappointed  to see the latest comments from the industry trade body PRCA.  It seems not everyone is wishing the newspaper industry a happy Christmas
As the PRCA has decided to take a less than constructive approach to our copyright guide - we wanted to make some points on their blog post:

  • Following the Copyright Tribunal decision on web licensing, earlier this year, a joint statement was issued by the NLA, UKMMA, Meltwater and PRCA explaining the agreed pricing structure for clients.  Since then we have worked positively with Meltwater and their customers to implement web licensing, which we had delayed until the Tribunal's decision.  We hope that the PRCA will soon be able to join the rest of the PR industry in moving on and working constructively together - which would be of greater benefit to its members.
  • The PRCA blog post references a corporate web licence which the NLA has recently introduced.  This provides a cost-effective licensing solution for those companies wanting to republish content from multiple publishers on their web sites (referencing positive product reviews etc). It is worth bearing in mind however that like all NLA licenses it is non-exclusive.  Companies can still approach publishers individually and negotiate a fee to use their content, if they prefer.
  • When quoting for new licences, the NLA is committed to providing a fair quote based on the information provided to us by a licensee once they have explained what they want or need to do with newspaper content.  If the client decides to change the level of cover required, naturally their quote will change to reflect this.

We take customer satisfaction seriously and will shortly update our annual report with 2012 results of our monthly survey.  So if you do have a question, concern or lack of clarity around your license, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks – and have a Merry Christmas!

The NLA team


European Integration in Practice

Cross-channel platform celebrated by Denis Noel, CEO of CFC and David Pugh, MD of NLANLA eClips – the database used by all major UK media monitoring suppliers and users to access print and digital media – now has a French twist. NLA and its French equivalent CFC (Centre Francais d’exploitation du droit de Copier) announced that eClips is now being used to deliver French national newspaper content to media monitoring companies in France. A technical co-operation agreement signed after an extensive trial means the proven benefits of eClips – fast, high quality access to original publisher content – are now available to thousands of French users.
NLA and CFC intend to use the common technical platform to improve access to international content for press cuttings users  in UK, France and other countries. A searchable version of the French content – Distri-Doc – is also made available to French journalists. The parallel UK journalists research service ClipShare is used by over 6,000 UK users.


The Dangers of Weakening Copyright

The Times has today published a letter from 7 copyright licensing agencies, working together under the banner Licensing UK. It draws attention to potential threats to the creative economy arising from broad exceptions to copyright being proposed in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

The text of the letter is below and the full Licensing UK statement, supported by 21 copyright management organisations working on behalf of creators and publishers can be found here


Sir, The UK’s creative sector stands united with the shared concern that the Government’s future intent is to erode creators’ rights and their ability to make a fair living from their work.

The Intellectual Property Office will imminently publish its copyright exceptions policy statement. Cloaked in the guise of simplicity for consumers, the Government seems to be set on an irreversible course that will damage both economic and cultural growth. The effect will be that these proposed changes to copyright law will mean that British authors, songwriters, publishers, performers, artists, film and TV producers and many others stand to lose.

It is mainly US technology companies that stand to benefit from such a permanent value transfer. Creators and creative businesses are pro-consumer. All they seek is the right to license businesses where value is being created. That’s fair and equitable. Cutting off a creator’s right to earn isn’t.

David Pugh, Managing Director, Newspaper Licensing Agency;

Robert Ashcroft, CEO, PRS for Music;

Lavinia Carey, Director-General, British Video Association;

Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive, Design and Artists Copyright Society;

Mark Pemberton, CEO, Association of British Orchestras;

Deborah Annetts, CEO, Incorporated Society of Musicians;

Peter Leathem, CEO, PPL


David Pugh

Managing Director, NLA


Publishers to Vote UKIP?

Copyright legislation is often strongly influenced by international law and treaties. UK rules have historically been driven from the Berne Treaty obligations (signed by most countries), as updated through the World Intellectual Property Organisation discussions, and EC legislation is increasingly important. The current EC copyright directive (the policy framework national governments are meant to enact) is eleven years old, and moves are being made to update it. A meeting is being held this Wednesday to set out the broad direction. 

NLA has recently been given a copy of the European Commissioners ‘orientation’ document on which this discussion will be based.  It describes the ‘value chain’ of publishing and using content: reading online newspapers are, it says,  one of the main uses of the internet. But content publishers are assumed to exist regardless of any change in their ability to protect investment. Journalists and photographers relying on newspapers for employment would want that to be true;- but they know, to their cost – it is not. Many UK newspapers are losing money and being forced to make journalists redundant.

The EC is instead focused on consumers’ desire to use the new toys that technology has given them – described in a ESRC report last week ‘its like having a cake but not being able to eat it’, and business users (the long arm of Google, probably) finding copyright an expensive nuisance. But there is no attempt at all to address the difficult question ‘why would you create, or pay someone to create content?’.   The ‘Facts and Figures’ annexed to the document includes this;-

• The print and publishing sector shrank by 7% between 2000 and 2010, and in the print sector, advertising revenues are shrinking 1% annually.

The analysis ignores the facts, and their implications. It’s natural to want your cake and eat it. The EC has been here before.  Ask the Greeks.

Andrew Hughes

Commercial Director, NLA