Posts Tagged ‘SIIA’


How Do I Monitor Content Behind the Paywall?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

With the financial struggles of news organizations and the proliferation of free online content, paywalls are becoming commonplace. But how are you going to see all your coverage once all publications go paywall? As publishers have found new ways of monetizing their content, if you can’t get behind the paywall, it’s trickier to fully monitor your media mentions. As a monitoring service with licensing agreements, we are comprehensive and don’t face the legal woes and challenges of some aggregations services.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has even devised a new initiative to ensure companies are properly accessing content, and in case anyone thought the industry wasn’t taking this seriously, they’re even offering anonymous rewards of up to $1 million to those who report illegal use of content.

But how are public relations practitioners supposed to get a comprehensive picture of their media coverage if they can’t see what’s behind the paywall?

Enlist a media monitoring service that has licensing agreements with publishers.

Services like BurrellesLuce that have a turnkey copyright compliance program ensure users see the full picture of their coverage by providing content from behind the paywall that other services can’t access. To name just one example, our agreement with The New York Times means that our users are the only ones seeing all channels of their content. We have long supported publishers by ensuring fair use, via royalty fees, of their content within the public relations community.

Why is it so important that PR pros choose a service with licensing agreements? Because you want service you can count on, both in knowing that the provider can alert you to all content about your organization and that you don’t have unnecessary liability exposure. You also don’t want to leave yourself or your organization vulnerable to legal action for distributing content without proper licenses (review our post about what you need to know about copyright compliance for more on how).

It’s also important to choose a service with licensing agreements because public relations relies heavily on the media to help get out messages, reach an audience, and tell a story. For all of our talk of community, each time we copy and use an article without consideration for the author or fair use, are we being true to our cause, or are we being pirates?

How has your organization dealt with licensing and compliance, and what further steps are being taken to ensure compliance?

U.S. Copyright Compliance Eyes Asia-Pacific

Monday, March 10th, 2014

BurrellesLuce US Copyright Compliance Eyes Asia-Pacific Fresh Ideas Tatjana JegdicA sweeping 12-country free trade agreement that is now being negotiated is much more than an attempt to open markets: It also has a significant copyright component. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in addition to opening the markets, represents an aggressive U.S. push to close the gaps in the intellectual property (IP) copyright and distribution protections.

The TPP’s IP/copyright agreement being negotiated could expand U.S. copyright standards to Asia-Pacific. It seeks to adopt US copyright restrictions on digital content for nations like Canada, Australia, Japan and North Korea. Ultimately, it could cover 40 percent of the world’s economy. TPP means PR pros face a future of an aggressive U.S. government push on copyrights internationally.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, is fully behind intellectual property rights in the TPP. SIIA encourages U.S. trade representatives to make the copyright portion of the agreement a priority, “Permit[ing] cross-border information flows, while ensuring that privacy and intellectual property rights are protected.”

The Intellectual Property Rights Chapter of TPP would have wide-ranging effects on publishers and internet providers. The TPP requires signing countries to protect a work, whether photographic, performance, or phonogram, for 70 years after the death of the person who created that work; for works by a “non-natural person” (whatever that is), the copyright be protected for “95 years from the end of the calendar year of the first authorized publication of the work.” Why does this matter to PR professionals? Because it extends the copyrights of intellectual property internationally, indicating just how seriously the U.S. government takes copyright issues.

Maira Sutton of Electronic Frontier Foundation says “copyright protections in the TPP would [also] empower internet service providers to police users’ internet activities [on behalf of publishers]. Therefore they could block or filter or even spy on users’ activities to supposedly enforce copyright.”

The Obama administration included part of the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation in the copyright chapter of TPP. SOPA, which meant to expand the U.S. law enforcement to fight online copyright infringement, was postponed by Congress in 2012.

If completed, TPP would remain open for any other country to join. Former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has welcomed China’s participation. “The area of ‘intellectual property’ is the key to billions of dollars in exports to China,” Kirk said. And China has already started indicating interest in TPP. Chinese participation would be game-changing not only because of the size of their market, but also because their poor track record on intellectual property.

Copyright compliance is a major issue in media monitoring and news aggregation. Content curators like BurrellesLuce that provide copyright compliance as part of their service will only continue to grow in importance.

The international IP developments around the TPP might also mean that recent domestic and cross-border copyright infringement cases will increase and will have more legal enforcement teeth behind them. In January, Dow Jones & Co. sued London-based Real-Time Analysis & News Ltd., a financial news aggregator service known as Ransquawk, for illegal distribution of the Dow Jones content without publisher consent. This case shows that copyright enforcement activity is not only confined to the U.S. information industry, but also crosses international jurisdictions.

The Dow Jones & Co. v. Ransquawk case looks very similar to the AP copyright infringement lawsuit against Meltwater, which AP won in May of last year. In recent years, Dow Jones also filed and received large settlement claims from other “hot news” misappropriation lawsuits like that against Cision.

BurrellesLuce – a curator, not an aggregator – of content has been a long-time supporter of making commercial use of news content with licensing agreements that pay publishers royalty fees. For close to 30 years we have worked with publishers to provide copyright-compliant content. We launched our turnkey compliance program in 2008. We strongly believe that news outlets must be fairly compensated for their content.

With our industry-unique service, our clients never have to worry about whether their access and use of media content is compliant or not. Thanks to our agreements with AP and thousands of other publishers, our small copyright royalty covers PR pros so they can legally share and use our digitized print clips and online news clips.

How are you protecting yourself and making sure you are on the right side of the expansionist U.S. copyright law? Do you think the TPP will bolster U.S. intellectual property rights?

Get Thee to a Lawyer: What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Monday, January 27th, 2014
flicr user buggolo

flicr user buggolo

Last week, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) held a webinar about Canada’s new anti-spam law. I attended the webinar, which was led by copyright and intellectual lawyer Barry Sookman.

Here’s the first thing you need to know: I am not a lawyer. The law is intricate, confounding, and complex, and this blog post should in no way be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions, consult a lawyer.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) becomes effective as of July 1, 2014. Sookman says it is a four-part legislation:

  • Anti-Spam: Deals with more than just “spam” as we think of it. The law will apply to the transmission of commercial electronic messages, whether it’s “spam” or not.
  • Spyware and malware: The legislation has been drafted in very broad terms to prohibit installation of any computer program, whether it’s malware or benign software.
  • Amendment to a national privacy law that prohibits address and personal information harvesting. This includes automated programs that collect email addresses.
  • Amendment to the competition act: An anti-trust act regarding false or misleading misrepresentation that has now been augmented with provisions making it illegal for emails to include misrepresentations. The definitions are very broad, and even extend to URLs included in an email and the subject line

Here’s the other top thing you need to know: If your organization sends any electronic messages to Canadian citizens, your organization can be found liable, whether you are based in or out of Canada. If your organization is headquartered outside Canada but has affiliate offices in Canada, those affiliate offices, and any messages you send to them, fall under the scope of CASL.

It’s worth noting that the business community in Canada wanted much more time to implement compliance, as the July 1 deadline may not give enough time for many to comply, since developing a compliance program means considering a number of pieces of legislation and regulatory laws.

Not complying can bring hefty penalties: Sookman warns that after a hearing, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can impose a monetary penalty of up to $10 million, and a private right of action can cost offending companies $1 million per day for breach of spam and malware provisions.

As I said before, the law is opaque and contradictory, so I’m not going to explain a lot of terminologies and provisions that Sookman explained. Instead, I’ll highlight a few very basic principles and once again encourage you to consult a lawyer.

  • Legislation dictates that organizations cannot send electronic messages unless the recipient has consented (there’s a lot of confusion behind express and implied consent, which is best explained by a lawyer). There must be a specific, prescribed unsubscribe option. This includes not just messages to email, but also to instant message and texts.
  • There are certain exceptions if your organization has an existing business relationship with the recipient, but when it comes to implied or express consent, there are many contradictory indications of when each applies.
  • The spyware/malware provisions deal with any computer programs. Sookman says that organizations need to be concerned about these provisions, as the requirements are not consistent with current business practices.
  • There is a general prohibition against a business installing programs on a computer system. If your organization has specific software clients need to run, this applies. You must acquire consent and change your websites, agreements, permissions, and download processes.

CASL makes the U.S.’s requirements look like an easy hurdle; it goes far beyond the scope of the U.S.’s CAN-SPAM Act, which includes requiring senders to tell recipients how to opt out of future emails and honoring those opt-out requests promptly. It’s likely that opt-outs will have far more prescriptions and specifications that those laid out by CAN-SPAM.

Sookman recommends that organizations begin with the following:

  • Ensuring the due diligence defense applies to them. This means that your organization takes all reasonable steps to develop a compliance program that applies even at board level, and that the organization has a policy to ensure regular updates and policy implementation. Sookman says that following guidelines may should like a reasonable way to follow due diligence, but a misunderstanding of the law will not help you establish a due diligence defense.
  • Conduct a review or survey of each department to identify current communications or software installation practices, methods of obtaining consent, and unsubscribe techniques.
  • Develop a plan to address gaps, establish procedures to ensure ongoing compliance and institutional monitoring of CASL activities
  • Start obtaining express consent ASAP
  • Check out the McCarthy Tetrault toolkit
  • Consult a lawyer

In short, CASL applies to a lot more organizations that I thought it would. There’s a good chance CASL applies to your organization. With less than six months until go-time, consult a lawyer and get moving.

Even if your organization has no affiliation with Canada, SIIA still provided access to a great lesson: we still have to pay attention, because it’s possible that if CASL is effective, the U.S. and other countries could follow suit and tighten regulations. Has your organization taken steps to comply with CASL? Do you think similar regulations could take hold in other countries should CASL prove effective?

BurrellesLuce Backs Media in AP Lawsuit

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The advent of digital technology has created some pretty interesting debates over the fair use of copyrighted content and how publishers can be paid for their news contributions and protect their copyrights.

By violating copyright – even inadvertently – PR professionals can expose their organization, clients, and constituents to a number of liabilities. That is why BurrellesLuce has worked directly with publishers and other content providers (for close to 30 years) to establish use agreements that pay publishers royalty fees and allow our customers worry-free access to copyrighted content.

We are staunch supporters of commercial use of content with the expectation that those providing a similar services to ours should also pay for the use of the content. We are also long-time members of the The Software and Industry Information Association (SIIA) and believe that people, including PR and communications practitioners, should pay for commercial use of content. We have had a turnkey copyright compliance program in place since 2008 and we work to educate our customers on copyright compliance and the proper use of licensed content.

The same cannot be said for other companies in the media monitoring and evaluation space. Some aggregators, posing as monitoring services or search engines – depending on what best serves their position of the day – are not curating content, but archiving and hosting a database of publisher’s content. This creates challenges for PR and marketing pros, and some media monitoring firms expose their clients to potential liability.

At BurrellesLuce we curate content on behalf of our clients and charge a royalty. Those royalties go back to the publishers. PR professionals are understanding, more and more, why these measures are necessary. They recognize the difference between a genuine media monitoring service and an aggregator. They realize they may be exposing their organization, as well as their clients, to substantial copyright liability by using the latter.

The difference is best outlined in an article by Neiman Journalism Labs, which discusses the difference between search engines and aggregators.  A search engine, like Google and its “free” business model, typically provides links to the original content and pays a licencing fee to the copyright owners, while aggregators repackage the publishers’ copyrighted material, send it to their customers, and charge their customers without paying a royalty to the publishers.  As a genuine full-service media monitor, BurrellesLuce uses a business model that ensures that the publishers get paid for the use of their copyrighted content, and gives our customers the peace of mind that comes with compliance with the law.

Social Media Success for the Small and Middle Market

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Gail Nelson
Recently, I read The Cost– And Payoff — Of Investing In Social Media by the freelance writer Lydia Dishman. She reported on how small businesses owners could participate in and benefit from social media. One entrepreneur was quoted as saying, “Previously wasted downtime like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It’s getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it’s golden.”

71918615_14resizeforblog2.jpgOn the other end of the spectrum lie the investments large companies make in social media. If you watch any TV at all, it’s likely you’ve seen BestBuy’s pricey TV ads designed to spread the word about Twelpforce – a cadre of staff providing customer assistance via Twitter.

So what does social media success require? Simply a long commute and a smartphone, or a major restructuring of the business? Of course, the scale and type of effort depends on the size of your organization, its business goals, and other factors, but it’s a question many B2B PR and marketing pros are wrestling with right now. It reminds me a bit of the customer relationship management (CRM) revolution of yore: As with CRM, social media burrows into the heart of company’s interactions with its clients, and like CRM, getting to a winning strategy is a journey.

I’m happy to report that I’ll be participating on the panel of a free Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) webinar exploring what really works for the “meaty middle” of the market – companies with more than one employee but less than the 10,000+ of an IBM. During Overview of Business Applications of Social Media (part of a webinar series on social media in a B2B setting), I’ll be sharing the BurrellesLuce experience with the social media revolution – our sales, marketing, PR, and customer service goals, our program results, and a word about our clients.

Joining me are some top-notch PR and marketing executives: Angela Lauria, CMO of AppAssure, will present her company’s case study. Jeff Majka, Director of Marketing and Business Development at the national PR firm Strategic Communications Group, will offer insights based on his firm’s work for its portfolio of clients. Guiding the session is Karen Leavitt, CEO of Marketing Fusion. Here’s where to register for the September 8 webinar. Hope to see you there!