PR agencies save ‘millions of pounds’

Are we happy or sad?

Some good news has emerged for PR companies and their clients who are facing ever increasing redtape and fees – but the picture is still far from clear.

The Copyright Tribunal today slashed the licence fee increases the NLA had proposed for the web end user licence by up to 90% following legal proceedings brought by the PRCA and Meltwater Group. The changes to the web end user licence fee will save UK businesses (specifically PR companies) and public sector organisations millions of pounds over the next three years.

During the legal proceedings, which saw the Copyright Tribunal uphold seven of the nine changes the PRCA & Meltwater had requested to the licence.

However…and this bit is really important…and expensive for PR companies… the NLA also revealed that it will require anyone who uses Google News / Google Alerts for work to take a licence.

What?! So we need an extra licence to get Google Alerts sent to us which feature clients in them? I want to see Google get involved in this and support Meltwater and the PR industry (which in turn supports Google) to put a stop to this madness.

Meltwater has estimated the savings to the industry to be at least £100 million over the next three years – but what will be the cost of acquiring a licence to review Google News items?

Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive said

“Both Meltwater and the PRCA have invested huge resources ensuring the PR industry and other Internet users are not subject to unreasonable costs. The savings we have achieved for the industry highlight how important it was that we stood up to this scheme when others just accepted it. This is a huge win for Meltwater, the PRCA and its members. We have won the battle. We must now continue to fight to protect the broader principles of the Internet.

“The mandate the NLA has been given is against the ethos of the Internet and sets UK Copyright Law in a head on collision course with every day Internet users. We share their concern and will now step up our campaign to make UK copyright law fit for a digital age.

“The ability to browse the Internet without fear of infringing copyright has always been a fundamental Internet principle. Society is not served by these rulings in the UK and it seems that this interpretation of the law fundamentally clashes with how millions of people use the Internet every day,” says Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater. “Meltwater is a strong believer in copyright and a strong supporter of a sustainable, independent press. However, the UK needs a copyright law that allow its citizens to use the Internet without fear of unintentional infringement.”

Background to the PRCA’s and Meltwater Group’s fight against the Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd’s (NLA) proposed licencing scheme for Media Monitoring Organisations (MMOs) and the clients of those MMOs is available here.

The full judgment of the Copyright Tribunal can be found here.


About Peter Davies

I'm a Manchester PR agency man. I work at RMS, the UK-based independent PR and marketing agency, I'm also a daddy and a football referee. Call me on 07779 033 016.
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