The NLA’s 20th year representing publishers was another success story

As our recently published annual report clearly demonstrated, 2015, the NLA’s 20th year representing publishers, was another success story. If you like numbers they are here.

Alongside growing the royalties we return to publishers, we continued to invest in providing content and services for publishers and media monitoring organisations. Magazine publishers added their content to eClips during the year, bringing the number of professional users with access to the service to half a million.

As for services used by journalists, the ClipShare service was upgraded to both increase access speeds and deliver search results on the breadth of content dating back to 2007. Continuing to develop the service is today more important than ever, with over 7,000 journalists now relying on it for their daily work.

2015 also saw a landmark in our support for the next generation of journalism, with NLA contributions to the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) passing £1m.

With a packed calendar and lots of exciting initiatives on the horizon, I look forward to seeing the next chapter of our organisation unfold in its 20th year.


Virtual Reality - Do Publishers Really Exist?

Do Publishers Really Exist? It’s an odd question to ask, but currently in European law, (which is focused on author’s rights) they don’t have any formal status. This has led to some rather odd legal outcomes,  so publishers have persuaded the European Commission to consult on correcting the anomaly.

This subject was debated at a seminar in Amsterdam last Saturday. The event, which was hosted by CIVR and run by Cambridge University, also considered how copyright law interacts with newspaper publishing.

The audience and speakers were predominantly academic lawyers, but the discussion was less technical than might be expected. To the extent that any consensus emerged it was that;

-          The challenges for news publishing are much bigger than copyright law;
-          Tightening copyright law and enforcement would help, marginally;
-          If the publisher anomaly needs to be addressed a less sweeping amendment would be preferred by most.

A hot topic was the initial failures in Spain and Germany of attempts to use a local publishers’ right (also called ancillary or neighbourhood rights) to force Google and others to pay for the content they use.  Some publishers see this as progress, and some users as a threat. One thing is for certain, when debating this issue, the emotion is larger than the revenue.

Matt Rogerson, Head of Public Policy at the Guardian, explained the huge pressure publishers face as digital revenue evaporates in the face of over-supply and ad blocking.  The recent closure of the print edition of the Independent helped some present focus on the reality, as did the  Enders Analysis slide (below) showing the decline in newspapers' advertising income.

As is sometimes the case, the lawyers’ opinions wavered and havered (the comment if you pose four copyright lawyers a question you get five opinions rang true).  The economist demonstrated lawyers don’t have a monopoly on sophistry; check the logic behind “users like Google News so we should legislate to ensure it continues “.  Another long day in the copyright law forest but progress was made.


NLA celebrates World Intellectual Property Day 2016

Today is World Intellectual Property Day, an annual event aimed at raising awareness of the issues surrounding IP. This year WIPO looks at how culture is created, accessed and financed and how a balanced and flexible intellectual property system helps ensure that those working in the creative sector, are properly paid for their work, so they can keep creating.

NLA media access is constantly working hard to protect publishers’ IP, so we can grow the royalties we return to publishers and support journalism. One such example of how we do this is our Online Article Tracking Services. (OATS).
In the modern world, as publishers’ content is increasingly digitised, OATS plays a vital role in helping us protect publishers IP. OATS identifies and manages the removal of infringing content republished on commercial and non-commercial sites. Once identified through OATS, we educate infringing domain owners on what can or cannot be copied. We also help infringing domains to seek the relevant permissions and give advice as to how to correctly credit the copyright owner.

In 2015, NLA media access contacted over 750 domains leading to the removal of infringing content from 86% of them. Although there is always more to do, we are proud that we are helping to raise awareness of copyright and IP.

You can learn more about our OATS service here and find out what others are doing to celebrate World IP Day using #WorldIPDay.


NLA Royalties – equivalent to 1500 jobs in journalism

NLA publishers benefited from a record £34m in royalty payments in 2015, an increase of 12% on the previous year. Licensing is an increasingly important source of revenue for publishers in our digitised world. Royalty payments made by NLA to publishers are equivalent to supporting the employment of 1,500 journalists.

In addition to royalty collection and payment to publishers NLA invested 7% of the licence fees it collected in the maintenance and development of database services which serve the media monitoring market.

The company ended 2015 with a strong customer base, an increased portfolio of publishers to represent and clearly defined plans to develop revenues for all publishers. That continues.

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary year, we hope to build on these successes for the next two decades and continue our work in supporting journalism.


NLA media access annual report

2016 is a landmark year for NLA media access as we celebrate 20 years of supporting UK journalism and today, I am delighted to announce the release of our latest annual report covering the 2015 financial year.

In 1996, as BSE and the Euro dominated the headlines, the NLA recovered just shy of £1 million in royalties for publishers. While the Eurozone still commands newspapers’ attention in 2016 - some things never change - I am pleased to announce that the NLA has generated £40 million in total licensing and database servicing revenue.

This result is a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work of colleagues and the health of UK publishing. Royalties paid to publishers grew 8.5% and, despite investment in new staff and database development, plus an office move in Tunbridge Wells, efficiencies enabled NLA to return 84% of revenue collected directly to publishers. As case studies contained in the annual report from the The Economist, Tindle Newspapers and The Guardian all recognise, the NLA provides an increasingly valuable source of income for UK publishers.

In 2015 the NLA also donated a further £100,000 to the Journalism Diversity Fund, taking our contributions to this important cause to over £1 million since its launch in 2005.

While we celebrate our 20th anniversary year, we continue to be mindful of changes in the media landscape and our customers’ changing needs. This is not a new challenge for the NLA. ClipShare, an NLA innovation used by over 7,000 journalists, has quickly become an indispensable tool for those in the industry. In a similar vein, 2015 saw the release of the new PR Client Service Licence to simplify copyright compliance for PR agencies. The licence was initiated and developed as a result of customer feedback, and further shaped by constructive input from the CIPR. Since its launch in November, over 160 PR agencies have opted to transfer across to the new licence.

2015 saw the NLA continue to increase the number of publishers and clients we serve, using our expertise to support the business development of monitoring clients and publishers alike. I have no doubt that this progress will continue in 2016 and beyond.

In addition to the release of the annual report today, we have published supplementary details on the cost of NLA licensing in both the public and private sector which demonstrate the excellent value that our licences offer in enabling clients to keep abreast of media reporting. As the figures show, the c. 8,000 NLA organisations in the private sector pay just £2.08 per employee per year for copyright clearance; in the public sector, covering central and local government and NGOs, the average cost of an NLA licence is reduced to just £1.62 per employee per year. These figures embody our core value of balancing value for money for all our clients with returning essential income direct to the creators and publishers of content

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