Last month we were contacted by the Newspaper Licensing Agency, which is owned by the UK’s national newspapers. It wanted to sell us a ‘newspaper copyright licence’. The licence would ensure that we become “copyright protected”.
Apparently we need a licence if we share press cuttings internally. It also applies to links shared that include “text extracts to explain what the link is”.
A licence is also required for photocopying newspaper content, scanning and email cuttings, printing from a newspaper’s website, cutting and emailing text from a newspaper website, and putting any cuttings on our website.
Much of this doesn’t apply to our organisation, but we want to make sure that we’re operating in an ethical manner and are keen to abide by the rules.
The issue is that the rules are:
b) self-defeating, and...
c) being set by people who aren’t really in any position to set them.
Let me explain.
In the past week, the BBC has taken heat for its understanding of, and respect for, copyright.
Criticism of the BBC started when Andy Mabbett complained to the BBC about photographs of the Tottenham riots being published with little more than a note that they were "from Twitter".
Earlier today, we posted a Q&A with Meltwater and PRCA, giving their reactions to the Court of Appeal's ruling in the dispute with the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA).
Now, in the interests of balance, it's the NLA's turn to put its side of the case. I've been asking MD David Pugh about his reaction to the ruling, and whether the ruling does indeed criminalise normal web users.
Anyone who clicks on a link and reads an article on a public news website in a commercial setting will infringe copyright unless licensed by the publisher, according to a UK Court of Appeal ruling in the NLA v Meltwater and PRCA case.
On a more positive note, the court ruled that it will be very rare that headlines are copyrightable, modifying the earlier verdict of the High Court.
I've been speaking with Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of the PRCA and Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater about what seems to be a very strange verdict...
In 2006, a Belgian newspaper group, Copiepresse, sued Google. It claimed that the search engine was violating its copyrights in showing headlines and excerpts from its newspapers in Google News.
Google lost in court, but it may have won a small moral victory when it left those same newspapers crying 'Bloody Mary!' this week. The reason? They noticed that their websites were no longer appearing in Google search results.
Enforcing copyright online has proven to be quite difficult. More than a decade after Napster brought the subject of digital piracy into the mainstream, content owners are still struggling to protect their rights on the internet. They have finally learned one thing though: suing grandmothers (and dead grandmothers) doesn't work.
So what are content owners doing? It appears they are turning their attention to a more receptive audience: politicians.
Copyright has proven to be a thorny subject in the digital era we live
in. That's particularly true for traditional media. From record labels
to newspapers, the internet has taken a lot of the blame for the woes
of media companies that were once dominant. A lot of the time, their
woes are connected, directly and indirectly, with internet-based
To be sure, the internet has raised a lot of copyright-related
questions. Where does fair use end and copyright infringement end? Are
"hot news" laws a necessity given that bloggers can so easily piggyback
on the reporting of major news organizations?
It’s hard to make a living writing online. In general, those who write
for the web are looked down on by their ‘in-print’ counterparts. Despite
the fact that we often speak to larger and more relevant audiences,
there’s still an attitude that web copy is somehow illegitimate, less
Just because someone is writing for a
newspaper, they aren’t automatically any more talented or influential
than a blogger. The lines are blurred; many bloggers being talented
journalists and vice versa.
Indeed, the only real difference is the
matter of accessibility, and it's this factor which has led newspapers to duck
behind paywalls, offer subscription-based apps and ‘unique content’
add-ons as the old media struggle to monetise their sites and avoid
devaluing their content.
The assumption seems to be that online, content
may be king, but it’s still cheap.
In fact, one recent incident shows that some people consider it so
cheap; it isn’t worth paying for at all.
The business model of the recording industry is broken. Just about everyone knows it, including record label executives. But the industry collectively still seems to have a hard time admitting it.
So it's really no surprise that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has gone so far as to sue grandmothers for illegal music downloads, is singing a new heartbreaker: copyright law is broken.
Jailbreak your iPhone and go to jail? In the past, Apple has argued that jailbreaking an iPhone is not only a bad thing to do, but entirely illegal. The rationale: the process amounts to copyright infringement.
But yesterday brought good news for prudent (or paranoid) consumers who have hesitated to jailbreak an iPhone for fear that a SWAT team might break down their doors in the middle of the night.