WEDNESDAY 2 DEC 2015 11:20 AM


Following NLA media access’ decision to introduce a new PR Client Service license, the PRCA announced its categorical opposition.

At the time Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said, “The PRCA has no intention of being the NLA’s useful idiots by endorsing their behaviour. The NLA is simply a parasite on our industry. We should have the courage to say so. Rather than collaborate with the NLA, the PRCA will continue to challenge them.” The PRCA is firm in its belief that the licensing fee system sould be altogether eliminated. On the contrary, the CIPR collaborated with NLA on the development of its Client Service license. 

Now, as the conflict deepens, the PRCA and the CIPR are locking horns over their differing relationships with NLA. The PRCA has released independent survey results that show seven out of ten PR professionals prefer the PRCA’s oppositional stance to the CIPR’s collaboration.

The research, conducted by Question and Retain, found that 69% of the 483 respondents favour the PRCA’s decision to challenge NLA’s licensing law. The CIPR’s negotiation approach was favoured by 21% of respondents and 10% stated no preference.

Melanie Riley, co-founder at Bell Yard Communications, says, “I think it is fundamentally wrong for PRs to have to pay a licence fee to share, or receive, an excerpt from a publication for a story they have likely given to the publication in the first place, and for a publication to which they no doubt already subscribe. Also, the charging structure is completely arbitrary and bears no relation to anyone’s costs, or indeed little relation to the size of the licensed agency.”

However, the CIPR has released the following statement, “Engagement with the NLA – and the copyright establishment – is both a common sense position and a sound public relations approach. If the CIPR was to shut itself out of any kind of practical influence on this issue, it would not be acting in the best interests of members, particularly small businesses whose growth potential was restricted due to an unnecessarily complex licensing structure."

"A need for greater clarity on copyright licensing fees’ has been a consistent view presented by members for a number of years, and this new NLA licence should be seen as only the first step forward in the fight against complexity to save PR business owners time and money. Across the board, the CIPR wants to see the entire copyright position simplified and we will continue to approach achieving this objective proactively with all stakeholders.”

The PR Client Service License, which affects agencies with up to five members of staff, grants PR agencies the right to supply their clients with articles from NLA represented publications. It is charged on a flat rate of £194 per client supplied. Further details on the new license can be found on the CIPR website.


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