NLA claims first victory with Lib Dem’s damages

The Newspaper Licensing Agency has claimed its first scalp after the Liberal Democrats paid pounds 2,000 in agreed damages over copyright infringement of newspaper cuttings.

The Newspaper Licensing Agency has claimed its first scalp after

the Liberal Democrats paid pounds 2,000 in agreed damages over copyright

infringement of newspaper cuttings.



The NLA, which has alienated much of the PR industry over its aggressive

stance on protecting newspaper publishers’ copyright, issued a statement

this week trumpeting the move as ’the first of a number of cases we

expect to settle with infringers of copyright.’



However, the Liberal Democrat spokesman expressed surprise ’at the NLA

making public private, commercial arrangements’ and refused to comment

further.



The NLA issues licences that permit the photocopying of cuttings. Most

cost less than pounds 1,000. The Lib Dems refused to buy a licence until

April of this year and the agreed damages relate to copyright

infringement prior to its licence.



The PRCA reacted angrily. Chairman Jackie Elliot said: ’The tone of the

statement is typical of the nature in which it (the NLA) has conducted

its business. It is acting as if it has won some great victory.’



An IPR spokesman commented: ’We’ve never disputed the need for a

licence, but we do object to the heavy handed tactics of an organisation

in a monopolistic position.’



But NLA chief executive Anthony Rentoul hit back saying: ’We want

everyone to know that we should be taken seriously. We are like security

men looking after newspapers’ intellectual property. If people want to

steal, we will bring them to book.’



Leader, p9.



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