The Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA), which acts on behalf of UK newspapers, has launched a new online eClips web service, which allows media monitoring companies to supply clients with relevant newspaper website content, including paywall-restricted content such as The Financial Times and The Times, which web-crawlers cannot access.

The new service has been in development for two years by the NLA, which is a private company owned by the UK’s eight national newspaper groups. eClips web technology connects press cuttings users and service providers directly to newspaper website production databases, rendering ‘bots’ or ‘scrapers’ programs to copy material from newspaper websites unnecessary.

The eClips web service is an online database of UK newspaper articles for media monitoring agencies and their clients, and it will complement its existing eClips service, which delivers original print articles in electronic format.

NLA’s role has always been to help organizations access and share news whilst ensuring they are copyright compliant. So if your company is covered in the press and you want to circulate copies of the feature, the NLA will help with the copyright management process. In the last 13 years, the NLA has distributed more than £100m in royalties to represented rightsholders.

In the run up to launching eClips last year, the NLA won a High Court case against Meltwater, a digital news monitor, and the PR industry’s PRCA body, with the judge ruling that web-links procured from online news sources are in fact protected by copyright law and that anyone aggregating online links without an NLA license would infringe publishers’ copyrights. The appeal to this ruling kicked-off last week.

So what about Google? Well, it’s apparently exempt from needing a license because it isn’t a commercial media monitoring service – you’ll have noticed all those Google news alerts are free. On that note, why would anyone pay for a media monitoring service if they can simply use Google?

NLA state that by analyzing a sample of articles from the Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Mirror and Independent, it showed that eClips web covers on average 11% more content compared to Google News, based on a random sample of 100 articles from eClips Web over a 24 hour period.

According to NLA:

“The licensing of web content applies to commercial web aggregators and their clients – B2B only. Charging will apply to commercial companies who copy and crawl newspaper web content and resell the content, as part of a paid service.”

Three leading media monitoring services, Gorkana, Precise and Moreover, have already signed up to receive eClips Web content. Together, these suppliers serve over 3,500 businesses in UK with media monitoring services.