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Newspaper Licensing Agency

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have paid to the Newspaper Licensing Agency in each year to date. (323966)

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the right to control the ways in which their material may be used.

Under this Act, the Newspaper Licensing Agency provides businesses and other organisations with permission to share and copy newspaper content through the sale of a licence.

The level of licence fee payable to the Newspapers Licensing Agency comprises a basic fee payable by all users and a variable element that depends on the size of the organisation, determined by the number of staff employed or by turnover, and the number of titles to which access is required.

The Ministry of Justice is a major department of state that receives a high level of press coverage. It is essential that press coverage of the Department and the wider criminal justice arena is monitored and disseminated on a daily basis.

The Department

The central Communications directorate within the Ministry of Justice's headquarters is responsible for most communications across the Ministry of Justice group, including its agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

Judicial communications are managed by a separate Judicial Communications Office (JCO). Expenditure with the Newspaper Licensing Agency since the Department was established in May 2007 by the central Communications directorate and JCO is as follows:

£000

2007-08

23

2008-09

84

2009-10 (to 28 February 2010)

128

Licences are paid in advance and adjusted in arrears where actual staff or turnover would have led to a different licence fee being due. The 2007-08 fee was based on the staffing levels within the smaller predecessor Department, the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

From September 2009, the Department awarded a new contract for “media cuts” which included access to digital cuts for the first time. As a result of this, the Department's licence with the Newspaper Licensing Agency was extended to include digital licence fees. For 2009-10 these additional costs were £44,289.05 and covered the period from mid-September to the end of the financial year. The use of digital media allows far more staff to access information and helps reduce paper.

Agencies

The Ministry of Justice has four executive agencies: Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS), the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), the Tribunals Service and the Office of the Public Guardian. Only HMCS and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) have incurred expenditure with the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

£000

HMCS

OPG

2007-08

6

2

2008-09

6

2

2009-10 (to 28 February 2010)

2

2