Tuesday 14 January 2014

NLA media access: licensing shows its friendly face

Once upon a time there was the Newspaper Licensing Agency, a relatively stuffy and generally unloved body that was seen by many users of copyright-protected materials as an infernal nuisance and as a meddlesome, bungling litigant, as in the notorious case of Newspaper Licensing Agency Limited v Marks and Spencer Plc, resolved by a powerful speech of Lord Hoffmann in the House of Lords back in 2001 [this case is worth reading for the facts alone: here is a 21st century ruling on use of material furnished by a news service which has no mention of the words 'internet', 'computer', 'online', 'software', 'scan', 'search', 'keyword', 'data' or even 'information']. But how things change!  Exit the Newspaper Licensing Agency, enter NLA media access -- a body premised on the principle of "how can we help you?" rather than "how much can we squeeze out of you?"  Right now, NLA media access is on a roll: by its own admission it 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. Last year more than 200,000 organisations relied upon NLA media access annual licences.

This morning I received the following media release:

NLA media access, one of the UK’s media licensing agencies, is launching an awareness campaign to help UK magazine publishers claim historic and future royalties for use of their content.

The microsite will host a series of blog posts published as part of a ‘Content Masterclass’ over the first quarter of 2014, on topics from copyright and copying to royalties and rights management.

Drawing on expertise from veteran journalists and publishers including Elisabeth Ribbans and Brian MacArthur, the masterclass aims to:
• demystify the legal frameworks around copying;

• explain how to safeguard content; and

• clarify publishers’ and authors’ rights.
The NLA, which began life managing content licensing and data feeds for newspapers, paid out around £25m in royalties to newspapers in 2013. Last year, it was asked by the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) to take on responsibility for royalty collection for magazine publishers. Following the PPA’s recommendation of the NLA to its members, over 150 publishers – over 40% of the market by value – have signed up with the NLA over the past nine months.
However, there are still hundreds of smaller magazine publishers who are not signed up to receive royalties from companies copying their content.

David Pugh, Managing Director of NLA media access, comments,
“Many smaller publishers are focusing on creating great content for their readers, and are often not even aware that they could be generating an additional revenue stream from royalties. Every time a publisher’s content is used, republished on the internet, or supplied as a PDF clip to a PR company they are owed publishing royalties.

“It's difficult for smaller independent publishers to collect this money on their own. That is why organisations like NLA media access and the Publishers Licensing Society exist to help complete the process quickly and efficiently.”
To help magazine publishers understand how royalty collection and payments work, the NLA have set up a dedicated microsite at nla.co.uk/royalties, where a brief video shows how royalties are generated, FAQs should answer common queries, and there’s a contact form direct to the royalties team.

To learn more, get in touch with the NLA, or to sign up for the masterclass posts, visit nla.co.uk/royalties.
In case you've missed the point, or feel uncomfortable with the written word, this is the message which is encapsulated in a short, slick and not unenjoyable YouTube clip here.

This blogger notes how positively pitched this media release is.  You will find no mention of words like "infringe(ment)", "liable" or "damages". What a far cry from the 1990s, when the NLA was quite a bossy-boots.  Some of us may still remember the days when even a telephone request to the NLA for information would not be dealt with unless the caller gave his or her name and that of the company or organisation for which that person worked, and when trainee solicitors phoning the NLA were advised to call from public call-boxes so that their number, and therefore their affiliation, could not be traced.


Andy J said...

And congratulations to you Jeremy, for getting through the posting without once mentioning the word Meltwater!
However, as far as the NLA's cosy new image is concerned, the phrase about putting lipstick on a pig comes to mind.

Jeremy said...

Andy, I may not have typed "Meltwater" but the M-word was never far from my mind!

Peter Lawton said...

Would they consider excluding anyone who writes about the "outmoded music business model," how the horse has bolted and how musicians should get used to the free distribution of their music and make their money from live performance and merch instead?

Naomi Korn said...

Interesting the nice drawing does not also reference museums, libraries, archives, universities etc who spend thousand on licences. Many of whom are cold called to justify why they don't need a licence. Pigs in lipstick, wolves in sheeps' clothing....the list goes on