The News Media Association has emphasised  that copyright is a “positive force” in the digital economy.

Responding to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Inquiry into the digital economy, the NMA’s submission said: “It is all too often overlooked in the debate on the digital economy that copyright is a positive force, facilitating extensive cultural and economic benefits. It is not a question of denying or restricting personal freedoms; rather, copyright enables the creation and dissemination of content.

“Newspapers are essential components of a well-informed public and a free and democratic society. In order to maintain their role as a primary conduit for the free flow of information and comment newspapers must operate in a legal landscape permitting flexibility and facilitating immediate business decisions.

“The existence of IP rights incentivises the substantial investments that drive creativity and consumer choice.  Publishers face challenges in developing paid content digital offerings, and advertising revenues alone are insufficient to sustain innovation and development in the newspaper sector. News media companies must be confident of their ability to use the works created by them and their employees in any appropriate way, allowing the freedom to innovate and develop,” the NMA said.

“In our sector there is no evidence to suggest that the necessity (or cost) of obtaining permissions from rights holders constrains economic growth in any way. Newspaper publishers in the UK conclude licensing agreements with a wide variety of users, either individually or via NLA Media Access,” the NMA added.

“We believe that copyright law remains fundamentally fit for purpose. There is a real risk that unwarranted change could undermine the creative industries, which are an increasingly significant contributor to UK GDP. It is important for government to support and nurture the ability of the market to survive and thrive without imposing commercial models or constraining its ability to evolve.”