Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Anger at the NLA's proposals growing

Well, our work to make the industry aware of the NLA's proposals continues -and the anger those plans are generating has started to snowball.

I've spent the last week talking with members about the NLA plan to charge for the receipt or forwarding of URLs. At first there was disbelief -these URLs are, after all, in the public domain; and when they are received, it is with the explicit intention of directing readers towards the newspapers' own sites. But once people understand that the NLA are deadly serious, there is genuine anger. It's anger not just at the actual cost, or the appalling timing. It's anger mainly at the fundamental absurdity of charging for receiving a weblink to material which the newspapers themselves have decided to make available for free. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -this would be money for nothing.

Yesterday, the NLA's MD conducted a webcast through the PRCA. Over forty agencies tuned in to hear him explain and defend his plans. Those members didn't hold back in expressing their astonishment and anger. He was left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling he has provoked. If you want to see it, it's on our website http://www.prca.org.uk/

He also agreed to undertake a series of face-to-face meetings with the PR community. He's agreed to do one in London and two outside of London. We'll be organising them and meeting the costs. We'll publicise those events in due course -I'd urge you to attend and to be honest about your feelings. Monday also sees us convene a roundtable with other stakeholders -the PCAs, the aggregators etc. According to the NLA, the PCAs support their new billing plans -well, we'll see!

So -go to our website, look at the NLA's plans; let me know what you think; let the NLA know; let PRWeek and other publications know. Because if we are robust and determined in opposing this outrageous back door tax on knowledge, then I am certain we can stop it from happening.

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