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Media coverage, the NLA and caution

Out of the blue I have been approached by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) and asked if I was photocopying newspaper articles in the practice. No I wasn’t. Then I was asked about my website and told I needed a licence for featuring media coverage. This is my news and media page  – but I’m sad to say it’s now denuded of all the articles and mentions I have had. In order to calculate the cost of the licence, I fell into their most junior category and even so the licence was going to be too costly. And I still had to acquire an indemnity for retrospective use of these cuttings!
I used to believe the law of copyright was there to protect authors and musicians from the theft of intellectual property, in other words, people passing off the work of others as their own. It never occurred to me that showcasing articles with the author and publication clearly displayed could be considered theft. I thought that what I was doing was helping promote these publications.
But this was not the perception of the NLA, a privately owned company which distributes £22million back to its members. It is one of several UK collecting societies which are focused on getting results for their members, providing a third income stream on top of sales and advertising. Imagine if I could claim a royalty every time one of my patients had their realigned smile photographed! Such a notion is of course absurd.
I gather that the Performing Rights Society, which protests composers and musicians, once tried to insist that a supermarket shelf stacker who sang to herself at work should have a licence! I’m glad to say that they weren’t successful.
As for the NLA, I would urge colleagues to be wary. I mentioned that I was in their most junior category for their corporate website republishing licence. This is applicable to all businesses with under 500 employees and a turnover of £10m or less! I have a tiny practice, with just four employees, How is it possible that I could be categorised alongside businesses of that size? A review of the activities of the NLA is definitely needed.

2017-05-01T10:20:24+01:00For Professionals|
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