Last week PR industry reps and news aggregators accused the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) of a ‘blatant and unjustified attempt to tax the internet’, over plans to charge them for redistributing hyperlinks.
In a letter issued on Thursday, Meltwater, NewsNow, the PR Consultants Association and Updatum called for the NLA ‘to stop this legally baseless attempt to assert its copyright’. The letter was a response to the NLA’s announcement in June that it intends to start charging web aggregators for a licence, permitting them to use links to newspaper articles.
Now, in a statement issued to paidContent:UK, NLA commerical director Andrew Hughes has said the intention behind the licence is to redistribute some of the ‘substantial revenues (aggregators) generate to the content owners’.
As the NLA estimate aggregators and news monitors make a combined annual revenue of £10 million, plans to charge ‘circa 10 percent’ for ‘content scraping’, would mean £1 million could be distributed back to the NLA’s 1,400 member newspapers.
The NLA reports it has already signed up several aggregators to the plan, and responded to claims made in the letter that the licence could cost customers an extra £33,474 a year as ‘unsubstantiated and inaccurate’. This figure is in fact the maximum annual fee the NLA could charge for such a licence.
The decision to charge for hyperlinks has sparked much debate since it was announced, with the the Public Relations Consultants Association launching a petition opposing the licence.