Editorial: NLA sticks to its guns

In a letter to PR Week, the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s chief executive Anthony Rentoul compares those who dare question the NLA’s demands to cough up whatever sum it chooses to impose to road tax and TV licence dodgers.

In a letter to PR Week, the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s chief

executive Anthony Rentoul compares those who dare question the NLA’s

demands to cough up whatever sum it chooses to impose to road tax and TV

licence dodgers.



The comparison is flawed. TV and road fund licences are taxes levied by

the Government. The public indirectly consents to these taxes - and the

amounts charged - by voting in elections. The NLA, however, is an

unelected, unaccountable body conducting a commercial exercise on behalf

of newspaper proprietors, and charging whatever it thinks fit.



As we said last week ’the PR industry has no quarrel with the right of

publishers to protect their copyright and charge for reproduction of

copyright material’. What the PR industry objects to is the way in which

those charges are being imposed without the opportunity to negotiate on

price or on some of the clauses within the licence agreement. The NLA

refuses to entertain the idea that any of these matters are subjects for

negotiation.



The IPR and PRCA have again invited the NLA to talks before the dispute

reaches the Copyright Tribunal. No prizes for guessing what the NLA’s

reaction is likely to be.



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