DTI slams eClips cuttings service

The Department for Trade and Industry has threatened to investigate the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s (NLA) planned digital cuttings database, eClips.

The copyright watchdog's proposed service has attracted fierce criticism from senior industry figures.

DTI select committee chairman Peter Luff – a CIPR fellow – has written to the NLA, voicing concerns about the cost and confidentiality of the database and warning he may 'investigate' it. 'The easy exchange of printed information is at the heart of any modern economy, and the proposal raises potentially grave issues around the free flow of knowledge on which so many businesses depend,' he wrote.

But the NLA – which represents the UK's newspaper groups – said it had responded to Luff's concerns and that the service will roll out as planned in two months' time.

'[It will] provide a better service for our users,' NLA MD Martin Stevenson said.

Industry figures claim eClips would enable the NLA to monitor users' searches. There are also concerns that eClips would allow the NLA to deal more directly with PR agencies, threatening cuttings firms' existence (PRWeek, 18 Nov 2005).

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