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