Editorial: A long awaited settlement

After months of wrangling, the PR industry bodies have finally settled with the Newspaper Licensing Agency and the prospect of a showdown at the Copyright Tribunal this autumn has been averted.

After months of wrangling, the PR industry bodies have finally

settled with the Newspaper Licensing Agency and the prospect of a

showdown at the Copyright Tribunal this autumn has been averted.



The settlement gives neither side outright victory. The NLA has not

reduced its 2p per copy charge for photocopying press cuttings, but it

has agreed to introduce controls on future price increases. The IPR

describes the settlement as ’an honourable draw’, in that both sides

have compromised on their initial positions.



Until now the NLA had steadfastly refused to negotiate on any of its

unilaterally imposed conditions, and had bullied PR practitioners who

failed to comply with the threat of legal action - even comparing those

who dared to question its demands to road tax and TV licence

dodgers.



Yet the PR industry never had a quarrel with the right of publishers to

charge for reproduction of copyright material. What it objected to was

the way in which those charges were imposed without negotiation. Once

the NLA finally agreed to negotiate, a settlement was reached - but one

can’t help thinking it could have all been sorted out a long time ago.



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