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…).
The types of organisations who monitor and copy newspaper and magazine content range from the specialist to the broad. Some examples:
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.
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.
Teachers may circulate copies of specific articles to their classes, and lecturers may scan and email 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.
There are two main licensing agencies in the UK: NLA Media Access (the NLA), and the Copyright Licensing Agency (the CLA).
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 £198/year.
With thousands of licensed organisations in the UK alone, those licence fees can translate into large sums: the NLA distributed over £40m in royalties to Publishers in 2018.