Just before Christmas, I blogged that the NLA ‘s decision to try and tax weblinks was going to backfire. In their face-off with the PR industry, the media monitors and ourselves, they were throwing into question their very existence.
Well, today the NLA blinked in that face-off.
In response to our pressure, and Meltwater’s decision to refer the NLA to the Copyright Tribunal, the NLA today announced they are suspending their billing process while the Tribunal considers the case.
Do bear in mind the NLA say they’ll retrospectively bill users if the Tribunal happens to rule in their favour. I think they’ll lose the case, but even if they were to win, I am extremely doubtful they would find it easy to back-date bills –I know they’d like to be a wing of the Revenue, but they’re not.
The fundamental point is this though. If they were confident of their position, they wouldn’t have blinked. But they have. And in our view, it’s because their bluff’s been called.
Now their plans are in limbo. And they’ll remain there for between nine and twelve months while the Tribunal completes its work. We’re considering what our next step is, and we’ll keep the industry up-to-date about how we’re fighting for their interests.
But be in no doubt –this is a terrible day for the NLA; a good day for the PR industry. And we intend making the NLA’s life harder still.
Happy New Year!