UK Newspaper Licencing Agency Says Musicians Need To Pay To Quote Reviews

from the live-by-copyright,-die-by-copyright dept

I wonder how copyright maximalist musicians feel about this particular story. Techdirt reader glassneedles alerts us to an offline (!?!) news article in the publication Private Eye, about how the UK's Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has declared that musicians who quote positive reviews from newspapers need to pay £1,250 per year (which would allow them to quote up to 50 reviews). Seriously. Apparently, the NLA went around to various music agents and managers a while ago, and they (quite reasonably) ignored the threats. That just made the NLA mad.
... the phoney war has turned into a real one, with the NLA chasing agents, threatening legal action and demanding not just license payments for future quotes but also retrospective payments for past ones.

The amounts are crazily excessive for the modest, shoestring operations that most classical music management and PR companies tend to be, with £7,000-£8,000 a typical demand.
For folks who help market a number of musicians, the NLA claims are apparently adding up to being fairly serious.
The most outrageous example... concerns a small PR company called ElevenTenths, which is effectively one woman, Claire Willis, working form a spare bedroom.... Poor Ms. Willis was collared by the NLA a few months ago, required to fill in forms about her clients and activities, and then received a bill for £23,500.
Willis complained and apparently the NLA "backed down" and offered a deal for "only" £1,588.45. In the past, we had written about the NLA winning a lawsuit against news aggregators, so perhaps it's now turned to those who quote its reviews as a new, highly questionable, revenue stream.

I wonder if folks in the UK are regretting the decision, in the Hargreaves report, that the UK doesn't need an explicit fair use rule.

Filed Under: copyright, licensing, musicians, newspapers, quotes, reviews, uk
Companies: nla


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  1. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), 13 Nov 2012 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    Look, he said it was posted on a satirical site, I said, "Thanks for the heads up."

    Yes, if someone says something "might" be satire, I will self-censor to avoid looking silly. I don't need to confirm that he is right to self-censor myself. If someone says, "Don't go there, you'll fall off a cliff," I'll probably say, "Thanks. Now I know not to go there" whether or not it's true.

    You have totally missed my point all along. I've spotted lots of satire recently, so whenever anyone sends out "satire alert" it stops me in my tracks before posting. I don't feel I have go confirm the alert to stop posting.

    If you really want to get into this, we can talk about the effect of increasing skepticism when people post satire as reality. Yes, I've run into enough fake stories that my default is to question everything. Somehow you want to defend yourself over this because I said "thank you" to someone who said "satire." Why are you taking this so personally? It was my side conversation with someone, just like I might have in the comments of a Facebook post. I wasn't talking to you. That's okay here, is it not?

    I still haven't found any background on the story because now I have started to look for it. That's not to say it isn't true but I have ended up trying to do my own fact-checking after all. So now I am putting in the time to verify it because people are asking me here why I accepted his view that it might be satire rather than your view that it was true. Surprisingly there is very little on this story. There's an incomplete blurb on the Private Eye site and in Google there's mostly there's just references to this Techdirt story. It's taken on a life of its own because of these comments back and forth, but no verification that I can nail down yet. It's an echo chamber effect so far. Maybe someone can do some more fact checking on it.

    I have, over recent months, begun to learn which sites to laugh at rather than accept as truth. The Onion I've known all along. There's also a faux Christian site and a military satire site. Being in America, I don't know Private Eye, but now I know a bit more about it.

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