Media coverage is fabulous, we all love it, but it can be quite hard to come by. Obviously, then, if you manage to get an article written about what you do or have some PR published in a newspaper or magazine, you rightly want to celebrate and share it with your fans and wider audience.
Unfortunately, doing so might land you with a whooping fine – like thousands of pounds worth of a fine. In addition, having talked to many clients over the years, it is likely that you may have no idea that you are breaking the law and so the fine may appear out of the blue. The copyright laws extend to content that has been generated from a press release, article or interview that the external company in question (your business for example) has created and paid for.
This happens because the Newspaper Licence Association (NLA), a company that large media publishing companies formed some 20 years ago, protects the copyright of content their members publish. Consequently it is in your best interests to be up to speed and make sure you are not contravening the rules with your marketing.
Who are the NLA?
The Newspaper Licensing Association is a company that represents thousands of newspapers and magazines (online and offline) in the UK, Europe and North America. The eight major newspaper groups in the UK established it in the mid 1990s and opened it up to magazines in 2013, and it has been steadily growing more and more prominent over the last six years.
Members are charged a subscription fee, and NLA protects copyright for its members. It also issues licences that allow non-NLA companies to reproduce content on or offline. Licences are based on who what sort of business you are, how big your company is, your turnover and how much content you intend to distribute – see the price lists on the NLA website. You will also be charged a one-off indemnity fee to cover previous unlicensed copying. If you don’t need an ongoing annual license, it may be that a single use licence could be great value for money if you are a small company and have one wonderful piece of content in a HUGE publication that you want to shout about.
If you do not hold a licence to allow you to distribute the content published by an NLA-protected publisher nor have copyright permission to do so, you may be deemed to be in breach of copyright law, depending on how you share the content. And while the amounts may be small on their own they can quickly mount up if you frequently publish newspaper and magazine coverage on your website or via social media without permission.
So let’s see how you can do so safely.
What can’t be shared
• Photographs of the article
• Reproducing the whole article/press coverage verbatim
• Quotes and pictures from the article
Note these all apply even if you have written the text and supplied the picture(s).
What can be shared
• Straight url link WITHOUT the heading or any quotes from the article. So if you do want to back up the claims you are making you simply summarise the article and say “Here is the link to the article” and add the straight url link.
NOTE: This applies on social media as well – and remember use the publications handle if sharing it on social media and then their followers may see it and you *might* even get a share.
• Articles in non NLA-protected publications. There’s still loads out there. Check the list here and see if the ones you want to get featured in are on the list or not.
• A logo with no link. Logos are copyrighted, but they fall under the remit of the legal department of the publication and it’s almost unheard of for them to chase businesses for usage as long as you have a good reason to use it and are sensible.
• Awards. If you win an award you can absolutely yell about it however and wherever you want to.