You are here:

Are you risking a fine by sharing your online and printed press coverage?

Published on

You can be fined for sharing your press coverage without a licence. Get the lowdown so you don’t get caught out

Sharing expert advice with journalists so it can be quoted in articles is a great way to raise the profile of your practice, getting more traffic to your website and boosting the number of enquiries you receive. But the article for which you’ve provided your comments is subject to copyright law, so share it on your site or via your social feeds without permission and you’ll be breaching the publisher’s copyright – and that could mean a fine.

It’s easy to fall foul of the rules with many interior designers being unaware they exist. Yet sharing their coverage on the practice website or Instagram, for example, is a strategy many designers use. ‘In doing so what we have found out is this needs a licence and to have done it in the past without one will incur a not-so-small fine,’ a BIID Registered Interior Designer in the industry for 20 years and with frequent press told us.

What’s protected by copyright law?

It’s what’s known as content that’s protected under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, and that could be an article in a newspaper, magazine or on a website – and that includes sites that aren’t behind paywalls that anyone can access free as well as newspapers that are distributed free of charge.

The law means that it is an offence for a commercial organisation to copy, share and use content without a licence or permission from the newspaper, magazine or website which owns the copyright. Therefore, if you want to copy articles in which you’re featured or repost them on your social channels, you need to be aware of the law or you risk a fine for infringing copyright.

It’s important to note that copying doesn’t just mean reproducing a whole article. Taking a photo or screengrab or scanning and then posting it on your social feeds also counts as breaching copyright.

What about an article I’ve written myself?

Whether you can share an article you were commissioned to write by a publisher depends on what agreement you made about the copyright. If you assigned the copyright to the publisher then you are not the owner and so can’t copy it without permission or a licence.

Do I have to go to the publisher every time?

In the past it would have been necessary to contact publishers individually for permission and to find out the costs involved. However, a collective licensing scheme was established in 1996, and it’s called NLA Media Access.

NLA can provide you with a licence that allows you to copy and share publishers’ content. In fact, there are different licences from which to pick, including a version that covers copying that’s just for internal use. However, for PR purposes, you’ll likely be interested in a corporate website republishing licence, which allows you to republish articles on your site and social feeds. It also covers the text extracts in which you might be quoted as part of a larger article.

How much does a licence cost?

What you’ll pay for a licence depends on the size of your practice, as well as the type of publication, and how many articles you plan to republish on your site or social accounts.

The NLA offers the example of a micro-sized company (with up to £650,000 turnover) wanting to post up to 25 magazine articles, which would pay £908 per year for a licence at the time of writing. You can check out the price list for more details.

Why are you paying?

The money that’s collected goes to publishers as royalties, and the NLA says it is invested back into journalism.

Does the NLA licence cover all publishers?

NLA covers over 7,000 newspapers, including nationals, regional and foreign titles, over 1,500 magazines, and more than 4,000 newspaper and magazine websites. Among those included, for example, are prestigious magazines such as Homes & Gardens, House & Garden and the World of Interiors, and newspapers like the Evening Standard, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph. But to check if a particular magazine, website or newspaper is covered by a licence from the NLA, you will need to do a title search.

Remember that even if a title you’ve been quoted in isn’t covered by the NLA, you will still need permission from the publisher for copying and in this event you will need to contact the publisher directly.

Is there anything I can do without a licence or permission?

It is possible to post links to an article online because there’s no copying involved. For example, you could send a tweet with a link. But make sure you just use the link with no photo or screengrab.

Consider a photo of yourself or your designs with text overlayed 'As Featured in xxxx' and link through to the website.