Raise the subject of copyright licensing with any public relations professional and you will see that this is very much a divisive issue.
For more than a decade, the CIPR has chosen to stay away from this debate, not joining the PRCA in their work to challenge the NLA through the courts, and advising members to simply comply with the structures that currently exist. (For further background I’d encourage you to read Kevin Taylor’s latest LinkedIn post).
Earlier today, we issued a statement that signalled a new approach, welcoming the introduction of a new licence by NLA Media Access as a solid step forward in the right direction of addressing the intricacies of the current UK copyright settlement for the business of public relations.
Our new approach is one that looks to fight complexity and challenge the copyright establishment to deliver a fairer and less complex system for members that ultimately will save them time and money.
Every week, members contact our Policy team asking us to redress a very complex unwieldy system that costs them a significant amount of time and money on a business overhead that as a professional body we simply couldn’t and shouldn’t advise them not to pay.
An opportunity to influence NLA fee structures came about this January, as they sought us out to consult on their new PR Client Service licence.
Working alongside our Policy & Campaigns Committee, our member-led policy forum, we shared our feedback with the NLA and suggested a whole host of changes which they took on board.
The result is this new optional licence that is one flat fee per client – no matter your agency size or number of clients. (See our FAQs).
The old structure was prohibitive to the growth of small agencies as they grew beyond a small client base.
We challenged the NLA to deliver a simplified and cost effective licence for PR agencies – this new licence will ease the burden on many of our members and represents a step forward for the industry in the fight against copyright complexity.
For the NLA, and other collecting societies, this is just the start of the CIPR challenging them to deliver a system that considers the industry’s point of view into how we consume their rights holders’ content.
This new licence aside, the legitimacy of the NLA is an issue that many feel needs to be addressed more widely. On that we agree. This is why we’ve been explicit in our statement that the growing number of collection societies that offer a host of complex licensing structures must be tackled as the next step.
If we want to address this issue in a timely and effective manner for the benefit of our industry, refusing to engage with right’s holders, collecting societies and the structures that underpin them is not an option.