Client: Copyright Licensing Agency
PR Agency: Luther Pendragon
Timing: 10 November to present.
Cost: pounds 40,000
The Copyright Licensing Agency was set up in 1982 in response to the
increasing numbers of photocopiers, and consequent copying of material
without any fees going to the author or publisher. The CLA represents
the interests of authors and publishers and issues copying licences to
businesses on their behalf, with the fees being redistributed to
As unlicensed copying is a civil rather than criminal offence, generally
the CLA has no power of search, making it easy for businesses to ignore,
or put off responding to, licensing applications and information from
But a significant breakthrough came for the CLA in 1992 when a supply
teacher in a Manchester school saw extracts from a book he had written,
copied and circulated without any copyright fees being paid to him.
Manchester City Council was taken to court and licenses were
subsequently issued to all local education authorities in the country.
Then in July 1995, Luther Pendragon were brought in to target other
private and public sector organisations who had been less receptive to
the CLA’s service.
To increase uptake of copy licences from CLA and to cut down on illegal
photocopying of copyright material by businesses. To promote awareness
of the legal status of author and publisher copyright.
Pendragon launched Copywatch in November with a press lunch at the
British Library and a release on the illegality of much business
photocopying, which was given serious coverage in the Observer, the
Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph.
Copywatch also unveiled a telephone hotline that would advise businesses
on copyright regulations and take calls from whistleblowers reporting
illegal photocopying. Ben Rich, account manager at Luther Pendragon,
explains: ‘Copywatch was a two pronged campaign. It congratulated
companies taking out licences, while frightening those who continued to
copy illegally. Complying with copyright law was promoted as part and
parcel of good business practice.’
National media relations were followed up with a sector by sector
approach, targeting trade magazines and trade associations including the
Law Society, Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, Building
Society Association and the accountancy body CIPFA. While trade
magazines, especially Accountancy Age, provided editorial and free or
cut price advertising, the trade associations provided mailing lists of
potential CLA licensees.
Rich adds that the sector by sector approach meant that no company was
having to bear the cost of taking out a licence before their
competition. It also meant applications came into the CLA at a
In four months Pendragon’s pounds 40,000 Copywatch campaign has brought
the CLA pounds 500,000 in new licences, and could generate pounds 1
million within the year. The Copywatch hotline has taken 100 calls so
far, one of which has lead to prosecution procedures. CLA business
licensing officer Roger Bull says: ‘I am very pleased with the way it’s
gone, both in terms of perception and calls to the hotline.’
In addition to substantially increasing levels of licensing, the
campaign was also successful in establishing an identity for CLA - an
issue of increasing importance to the organisation since the advent of
the Newspaper Licensing Agency. While the CLA is supportive of the NLA,
and appreciative of the increased awareness of copyright issues created
by the NLA’s recent campaign, it is keen to maintain its separate
And it remains to be seen whether the controversy created by the NLA
campaign will rub off on the CLA.