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
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.