'You've been used': PRCA and CIPR clash over new NLA licence

Twitter played host to a heated exchange between senior figures at the PRCA and CIPR last night following the two organisations' very different reactions to the revised Newspaper Licensing Agency licensing structure.

PRCA chief Francis Ingham: "The CIPR has associated itself with a toxic brand"
PRCA chief Francis Ingham: "The CIPR has associated itself with a toxic brand"

Yesterday, the NLA announced changes to the licences PR agencies must currently sign up to if they want to share news clippings with their clients. The NLA said it had consulted the industry, and the CIPR said the "simplified structured" was a "welcome first step in the right direction in addressing the complexities of copyright licensing in the UK".

However, the PRCA - which referred to the NLA in its statement as "simply a parasite on our industry" and has previously successfully taken it to a European court – called the announcement "smoke, mirrors and spin" and said the new licence would "simply confuse agencies even more".

The issue was duly chosen as the subject of the weekly #PRtalk discussion, hosted by @PRtalkUK on Twitter. CIPR chief executive Alastair McCapra and PRCA director general Francis Ingham both contributed.

 Ingham was quick to accuse his counterpart of having been "used" by the NLA.

McCapra said that the NLA was a legitimate, lawful body and that not engaging with it was not an option for the PR industry.

Ingham also accused his counterpart of lacking knowledge on the issue, and said he was angry at the CIPR having held "secret talks" with the NLA

CIPR PR and policy manager Andrew Ross told PRWeek that it was "no secret" that the CIPR had been in dialogue with the NLA and other relevant bodies for seven years. Ross also said that in January when conversations about the new licence had begun, the CIPR had told the NLA it would be wise to liaise with the PRCA over the matter.

On Twitter, Ross clarified the CIPR's position.

Ingham also played down suggestions of hostility between PRCA and CIPR, saying it was the NLA which was the enemy. The @NLA_Ltd account did not contribute to the debate.

Twitter users and the PRCA and CIPR agreed there was scope for future debate – with both bodies' leaders declaring themselves available.

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