July 20, 2009

Newspaper Licensing Authority madness

Interesting post from Kevin Taylor (President, Chartered Institute of Public Relations) about an insane proposal by the Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA) to charge agencies for simply providing links to someone else’s content. I.e, right now, I should be paying the NLA for providing you with the link to Kevin’s post.

Kevin explains why this is nonsense very well, so I don’t need to any further here.

Meanwhile we had our own interesting experience with the NLA this year. The NLA are a *commercial body* not a government organisation. They derive revenue by threatening other companies with copyright suits on behalf of their members (publishers), unless a license is paid.

I have no problem with the concept of fair revenue for publishers, and being generally rather scrupulous, when the NLA came calling earlier this year we declared all of the copyrighted newspaper materials we have sent to clients recently. As it happened this amounted principally to approx 10 copies of Metro (a free newspaper) which we had collected and passed to some clients whose work was featured.

For this use the NLA proposed a fee of approx £10k, including ‘backdating for assumed prior infringements’, and a steep ongoing annual fee. That being obvious nonsense, it was sorted out, but not before it had wasted a good amount of several people’s time here.

As Kevin says the NLA appears to exist in a parallel universe, so I’ll leave them to it and end here before this becomes a tedious rant (maybe I’m too late).