Charity Media Licensing Campaign

Media Licensing Campaign

We are campaigning to have charities exempted from media licensing. Here's why.

Media monitoring is an important activity for charities, but they have to pay to share copies of newspaper coverage with colleagues.

The fees are collected by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), which is owned by the UK’s eight major newspaper groups. Each year the NLA raises over £26 million in copyright fees, of which about £1.3 million comes from charities – around 5%. The NLA’s running costs account for about a quarter of all that is raised, and the rest is distributed between 1,400 newspapers.

We think this system is unfair on charities for four main reasons:

  • Charities are paying to get their own coverage back. Our research shows that in the vast majority of cases charities copy newspapers to keep a track of the coverage they have generated, often as part of the requirement to show the impact of their work.

  • Charities’ coverage is mainly local, but the NLA forces them to pay for national licences. Under the NLA’s licensing system, a charity has to pay for national coverage licensing even if it only has local or regional coverage.

  • Media licensing is not cheap. Our research shows that it typically costs £1 for every article copied, and the largest charities are paying over £10,000 for media licensing.

  • Why should charities pay when individuals can circulate articles freely?

Take action

We think charities should be exempt from media licensing fees.

The more organisations there are backing this campaign, the stronger our voice will be. Check out a full list of our supporters - if your charity is not mentioned, express your support here.

The campaign has been covered in The Guardian, PRWeek and Third Sector, so please share your views and experiences in the comments sections. You can also share on Twitter using #copyrightfees and on our Facebook page.

Should charities renew licenses?

We're campaigning for full exemption for all charities, but this will not be achieved immediately. For the moment, if either the NLA or CLA ask you to renew your licence, it is advisable to do so.

Press the licensing agencies, in particular the NLA, to advise you on ways to reduce your liability and fee. Please feel free to contact our communications officer Rob Newsome on rob@charitycomms.org.uk with any questions.

Key resources