Editorial: Bully boy manner won’t win friends

Ever since it sprang fully armed into existence the Newspaper Licensing Authority has behaved with all the good grace of a cheap thug, forever threatening to release the slavering legal rottweilers leaping at the end of its chains.

Ever since it sprang fully armed into existence the Newspaper

Licensing Authority has behaved with all the good grace of a cheap thug,

forever threatening to release the slavering legal rottweilers leaping

at the end of its chains.



Now it has duffed up the Liberal Democrats as an example to those who

dare to question its demands. And it has lost no time in trumpeting its

out of court settlement as a great victory - to the surprise of the

LibDems who had thought it was a private arrangement.



Unsurprisingly, PR industry leaders have reacted with indignation to

this latest aggressive display. For its part, the NLA says it ’wants

everyone to know that we should be taken seriously’. It may succeed - in

the same way that a traffic warden is taken seriously - but it should

not hope to gain much respect.



The irony is that no one disputes the NLA’s case under copyright law for

charging for licences to photocopy newspaper articles. And, in most

cases, the amounts involved are relatively small, although the PR

business would have liked the chance to debate the NLA’s unilaterally

imposed view on how charges should be levied.



But the NLA’s heavy-handed manner has been guaranteed to set even the

most mild mannered PR person bristling. If people in the PR business dig

in their heels in order to make its task as difficult as possible, the

NLA should not be in the least bit surprised. It only has itself to

blame.



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