Copyright Infringement and Your Business

Receiving press coverage can be really exciting, and your first reaction is often to want to spread the news far and wide. However, news articles are protected under copyright laws, and if you’re not careful, sharing them incorrectly could cost you hundreds, or even thousands of pounds. This article looks at news licensing, and what your business can do to avoid copyright infringement.


What is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright legislation, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, protects original works from being copied or appropriated, for a set period of time. This includes images and artwork, music and video content, dramatic performances and other creative work, as well as texts, especially the news articles relevant to this article.

The written words of a news article are protected under copyright, in addition to any images, headlines, and the layout of the page.

Copyright infringement occurs when you use content in a way that violates copyright law. Examples of this would be using an image without the photographer’s permission, or illegally downloading a film.

While we are used to thinking about copyright in terms of images and music, we might not be as aware of the rules surrounding text and news articles.

Making any copy of an article would be a case of copyright infringement, whether that is a photocopy, printing an online article, digitally copying and pasting, downloading a pdf from an email or taking a picture.

It doesn’t matter what you do with the copy, whether it is just saved on your computer, shared internally between employees of a business, or shared externally via a website or social media – this is still violating copyright.

By infringing copyright, you risk action being taken against you by a monitoring agency, like NLA media access (NLA stands for News Licensing Agency). While they always try to resolve matters behind the scenes, rather than in court, purchasing a licence for the first time does include an indemnity charge. This covers all the unlicensed copying undertaken over the last six years, and the cost can quickly add up.


What can your business do?

Don’t take pictures or scan copies of news articles to share on social media or your website – even just the headline will be copyright infringement. Instead, write a description of the article, and post a link to it on the publication’s website – not a pdf version.

If you need, or want, to be able to share copies of news articles either internally between employees, or externally via your website or social media, look into purchasing a news license. NLA media access grant licenses that enable businesses to copy and share news and magazine articles, in both digital and print. Head to the NLA media access website for more information.

If you want to learn more about copyright infringement, head to the government’s webpage on intellectual property infringement.

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