Well, we put our money where our mouth was. We intervened against the NLA.
For a good eighteen months now, their plans to start taxing the receipt and forwarding of URLs have caused a row, with words being traded, meetings held, 'consultations' undertaken. The end result? They ploughed ahead pretty much regardless.
Last week in PR Week, NLA MD David Pugh had a little go at us. He said we'd not taken part in his 'consultation'. And he said we'd 'gestured from the touchlines'.
Let's put aside the fact that on the nine occasions when he and I met formally, we were clear and consistent in our opposition to his plans. And the fact that we facilitated him meeting direct with our members to learn their views. Both of which in my view make it pretty clear that we took part in his consultation. If 'consultation' is the right word.
Well, if were were ever on it, we are certainly now OFF the touchline. We're on the field, intervening in defence of the right to link to content freely made available already by the publishers. On the field, and ready -to continue David's theme- to scrum down.
And the reason why is simple. The NLA's plans have no basis in law in our view; are unreasonable; are restrictive. Actually, are self-defeating for a newspaper model built on the work of PR professionals, and centred on advertising.
All of these points were made clear to the NLA when they asked their questions. They just happened not to like the answers they received. So now we end up in the Tribunal.... Engage!