Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) is a copyright collecting society which collects and distributes copyright licence fees and royalties for text and images. CAL represents a number of publishers including Fairfax Media.
It has come to our attention that CAL has been sending letters of demand to some PR agencies and brands alleging copyright infringement in respect of editorial content being reproduced on brand websites and requesting back payment of copyright licence fees.
Copyright protection automatically attaches to content that is ‘original’ and subsists in material form, including literary and artistic works. Text and images comprising editorial content would be works in which copyright subsists. Copyright affords the owner the exclusive rights to copy, publish, perform, broadcast, adapt, sell, license, import, communicate to the public and reproduce in material form (including on the internet) copyright protected creations.
The reproduction or copying of content in which copyright subsists constitutes an infringement of that copyright. An infringement of copyright will be deemed to have occurred where a substantial or important part of an original work is copied. The reproduction of editorial content on a brand or agency’s website would constitute infringement of the owner’s (usually the publisher’s) copyright.
In order to avoid infringing copyright, brands and agencies should refrain from reproducing editorial content on their websites without permission from the publisher or a licence from a collecting society such as CAL. As an alternative, brands and agencies may consider linking to online versions of the relevant editorial content as linking in such a way is unlikely to constitute copyright infringement.
This is general guidance only in respect of this issue. Should you have any specific concerns regarding your use of any editorial content, you should contact us.