Subscription content on Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia websites will be available to clients of media intelligence group iSentia under a licensing deal believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.
The licence, developed by the Copyright Agency on behalf of Australia’s newspaper and magazine publishers, permits iSentia to “scrape” online news and magazine content including from The Australian and The Australian Financial Review, into media alerts and summaries for its clients.
Negotiations between Copyright Agency and iSentia were overseen by CopyCo, the publishers’ joint venture which oversees group copyright licencing of news masthead material.
Fairfax Media group general counsel and chair of CopyCo, Gail Hambly, described it as a significant milestone for the news media industry.
“Finding effective systems for licensing our content is a significant part of the news industry’s revenue model, and contributes to the long-term funding of quality journalism and news media,” she said.
“The fact that we have achieved agreement on this licence through co-operative negotiation is a credit to all involved.”
She said that in the United Kingdom and the United States scraping licences were only agreed after long and expensive litigation.
iSentia group communications manager Patrick Baume said the move formalised a “long and strong relationship with publishers” and cleared up what was once a grey area with regard to copyright.
“It provides certainty to the publishers in terms of our clients, and for our clients, it provides certainty that copyright is established.
“It’s a pretty major step and should be good for all parties … putting the proper boundaries in terms of copyright online and what it means for the whole industry.”
The other significant benefits included driving traffic back to the publisher’s website while giving iSentia clients direct access to content, including paid subscription content, through links in summaries written by the media company.
“A big part of our service in terms of print is we send the full clip as it is,” Mr Baume said. “We’ve now got the equivalent of that for online articles.”
The arrangement is not exclusive, Mr Baume said.
“This is the first arrangement that we know of, but it should form the basis for anyone who wants to distribute the publishers’ content.”
He described the deal as “another key piece in the puzzle” in the process of developing iSentia’s online portal into a “one-stop shop” for its clients, which number more than 5000.
“We put a social media feed in to the media portal earlier this year. We think it’s the only one in the world that covers all forms of media.”
Copyright Agency’s Director of Commercial Licensing, Ross McCaul, described the deal as “a landmark agreement that launches a new licensing framework for scraping online content”.
“We’re particularly pleased as iSentia came to the table early to negotiate, and worked hard through various models to reach the deal we have. It highlights iSentia’s best practice approach for how copyright is managed across their client platforms.”
iSentia CEO and managing director John Croll said: “iSentia is proud to have a long and constructive working history with media proprietors and the Copyright Agency in Australia, and we are delighted to be the first media intelligence company to be able to provide our clients with full article access to all the online content of Australia’s major publishers, including subscription content.”
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