Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy New Year From The PRCA

Another New Year -another opportunity to review the past twelve months, and to look forward to the year ahead.

For our industry, 2010 has certainly been a better year than was 2009. There IS a recovery -ok, its strength varies by sector and by region: and ok, it sometimes appears fragile. But there are more reasons to be positive about the future than negative, and 2011 should be a good year for very many of us.

The PRCA enters 2011 in the best shape it has ever known. Late in December, I presented to our Board a review of our performance over the past three years, and a strategic plan for the next few.

There can be no doubt that we have transformed ourselves over those years -and that we are determined to continue that process of transformation.

So, a few highlights from the past year:

January - NLA Ltd blinked in copyright dispute

February -we grew by more in five weeks than in the whole of 2005 and 2006 combined

March -Copyright Tribunal ruled in our favour versus NLA Ltd

March -Peter Bingle's Bell Pottinger Public Affairs joined the PRCA

April -We announced the 46 PRCA Founding Fellows, including Lord Chadlington and Lord Bell

June Women In PR Group left CIPR, and then joined the PRCA

June -we announced our new officers, with Huntsworth's Clarke and Edelman's Phillips taking major roles heading up best practice and international work respectively

August - Caroline Kinsey was elected as Chairman of the PR Council

August -we announced an alliance with the IVCA allowing our members access to one-another's services

October -our awards attracted a sell-out crowd of 750. They're now second in size only to PR Week's

October -Hill and Knowlton's Sally Costerton became PRCA Chairman and set out her two-year Chairmanship vision

October -Remarkable Group's Amy Bryant-Jeffries became first person to be awarded the new PRCA Foundation Certificate

November -PRCA National Conference took place in Manchester -our first National Conference outside of London in living memory, and an affirmation of our growth outside the Capital over the past three years.

November -We launched designatory letters. Over half of our members have claimed them already

December -having lost to the NLA in the High Court, we stayed the course and move to the Court of Appeal

So what do we plan for 2011?

Well, that will all become clear. But one thing is certain -we have no intention of going slow. We've changed fundamentally over the past few years, and I believe we've become the industry's best and more effective voice.

We represent more than double the number of UK consultancies we did three years ago; we have international members across the world, from Australia to the Ukraine -Indonesia to France; and we represent over fifty in-house PR departments -M&S, John Lewis, the Met Police, Westminster Council, Vodafone, the Law Society, P&G, and many other fantastic names, who wouldn't have even considered joining the PRCA even a couple of years ago. Their faith in the PRCA speaks volumes about how we have changed, and seized our new role.

We intend to build on all of that progress, with detremniation and verve.

As the saying goes -you aint seen nothing yet!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Standing Up For The Industry

Last week, we lodged our appeal against the High Court's ruling in favour of the NLA.

This is what I said announcing it:

Fifteen minutes ago acting on behalf of our members and the wider PR industry, the PRCA appealed last month’s High Court decision in favour of the NLA,

In 2009 the NLA decided to extend its hardcopy licensing scheme to cover the sharing of links to newspaper website content. The NLA believes that anyone using a commercial media monitoring service, or systematically sending content to clients, needs a licence to do so.

Meltwater challenged the proposed licensing scheme in the Copyright Tribunal believing it to be unreasonable. The PRCA supported this view and intervened in support of Meltwater and on behalf of our members and end users generally.

Following two rulings from the Copyright Tribunal in favour of Meltwater and the PRCA, the NLA referred the PRCA and Meltwater to the High Court.

We were disappointed by the High Court’s decision and believe it fundamentally to be flawed. We believe it risks putting an end to the freedom with which information can be shared on the Internet. The implication is that the mere act of browsing freely accessible websites will require a copyright licence.

We are therefore appealing the decision. We anticipate that even if our appeal is unsuccessful, the Copyright Tribunal will find that the terms of the licences and the fees sought from customers are unreasonable and so will reduce the fees. In this event, end users will still be in a better position.

Irrespective of the outcome of the appeal, we are confident that our ultimate aim of ensuring reasonable terms for the licensing of NLA content will be achieved.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about what the licensing scheme means for you or your organisation or you would like to be kept informed of developments in this case, then please on the link below.

The PRCA is proud to be representing, with Meltwater, the interests of the PR industry. And while it is our duty as a professional body to take on such a role, your messages of support and help collecting evidence have been crucial to our case.

Thank you for all your help and we promise to keep you informed as the case continues.

You can see a clip of that statement here