The life of a publisher tends to be driven by print deadlines, advertisers, subscribers, website overhauls and creating good copy. But what about the content that you’ve already produced, that’s floating around the world, either in print format or online? It gets read, scribbled on, shared, recycled … and copied.
It’s when businesses make a copy of your content – whether a press clipping, or an online cut and paste job – that you should be paid a royalty. After all, if copying technology didn’t exist, they would have had to pay for another edition. This is the money you’re losing when a copy is made, and this is why it’s fair that you receive a royalty payment instead. Additionally, it’s likely that someone copying your content without your permission is infringing your copyright. So they should either get permission from you directly, or get blanket permission to copy from your title(s), amongst others, by purchasing a copying licence from a company such as NLA media access (that’s us…).
Who’s copying your work?
The types of organisations who monitor and copy newspaper and magazine content range from the specialist to the broad. Some examples:
Media monitoring firms: Their business is based on keeping tabs on who’s being talked about in the press, and collecting and analysing this data for their clients. To do their jobs properly, they’ll need access to the full text of the national press, as well as industry and specialist publications as appropriate. Their reports may range from the concise ‘Client x was mentioned 13 times last week’ to delivery of all articles referring to the client, their competitors, and industry developments.
Companies & their PR teams: Some companies prefer to do their own media monitoring, or to use a PR agency. They may pull together a pack of press clippings for the senior management team on a Monday morning, or put links to articles on their corporate websites and intranets.
Schools & universities: Teachers may circulate copies of specific articles to their classes, and lecturers may scan and email round specialist content of relevance to their students. This is in addition to any general media monitoring an educational body may be making of its own coverage and that of its peers.
We’ll be taking a closer look at the copying process – including how you can monitor copying (and plagiarism) of your content – as part of our 2014 Content masterclass. Sign up for email updates on the right.
How much are they paying?
There are two main licensing agencies in the UK: NLA media access (the NLA), and the Copyright Licensing Agency (the CLA). We at the NLA tend to work with the business community, whereas the CLA also licenses content to the educational and public sector market. Licence costs vary widely depending on the type and volume of copying, and the size of licensee company, but start at around £150/year.
With thousands of licensed organisations in the UK alone, those licence fees can translate into large sums: the NLA distributed over £25m in royalties to its newspaper partners last year (2013), and this will be supplemented as its magazine portfolio grows over 2014.
So what should you do next?
- To find out if you’re likely to be due some royalties in the future, fill in the form on the right. We’ll let you know if it’s worth you signing up, and talk you through the next steps (see our FAQs).
- To understand more about the different organisations involved in content licensing, take a look at the main NLA website, the CLA, and the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS). If you’re really keen, there’s always the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988. More on that in another post.
- To learn more about the principles and practice of content licensing, copying and protection, sign up for our Content masterclass on this blog. We’ll be emailing out regular briefings through early 2014, and the content will remain here for reference.
Finally, do let us know if you have any questions that haven’t been answered here. We’d love to hear from you. Just drop us an email or give us a ring.