Monday, 21 December 2009

NLA Wolf in the Pot?

I'm sure we all remember the story of The Three Little Pigs. I read it quite a lot these days (not for my own pleasure you understand, but for the edification of somebody rather smaller...). It strikes me that the greedy wolf rather overstretched himself. If he'd been content to eat just two of the three pigs and then move on,he might have gone on to lead a happy, carnivorous life -rather than ending up in the pot.

The same may be true of the NLA.

They've had an easy ride over the past ten or so years. They produce nothing, but manage nonetheless to be rewarded handsomely on the back of other people's labour. There've been occasional mutterings about taking them on, but those mutterings never quite make it to the top of anyone's agenda. In effect, they keep on eating the easy-to-reach little pigs.

Until now.

In their greed to assert copyright over something that (in our view) isn't copyrightable -and to demand payment for something that is available for free- they're like the greedy wolf. They've overstretched themselves, and in doing so, they have thrown into question the whole legitimacy of their existing structures. Like the wolf, maybe they'll end up in the pot.

Meltwater's reference to the Copyright Tribunal changes everything. It shows that people are no longer prepared just to roll over when the NLA tells them to. It will inevitably make people think again about the unfairness of their existing licences. We applaud Meltwater. We'll be giving serious thought to how the PRCA ought to respond to their bold move.

And in the meantime, I imagine the NLA and will keep on huffing and puffing....

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