The Registered Consultancy Group (RCG) is a peer-run operating group within the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). Its mission is to support CEOs, managing directors and people with operational control of consultancies, providing them with ideas and education to build and run better PR consultancies.
In the past, consultancies flew under the radar when it came to understanding their obligations and the law around copyright. Particularly for media monitoring and sharing media clippings with clients and for pitching for new business. National Chairman of the RCG, Adam Benson, says the copyright licences of the time were unworkable for creative agencies.
“They just weren’t practical from a business adoption point of view,” he explains. “The pricing wasn’t right; the way they needed to be administered was onerous. And as a result, a lot of different kinds of businesses had just simply avoided becoming compliant, or really never took the time out to learn about it.”
As ideas and content creators themselves, RCG members were keen to become compliant. The RCG and the Copyright Agency struck an agreement to provide members with a 10%
discount on licences, and established a self-regulation process for copyright infringements by RCG members. The Copyright Agency also committed resources to provide education and training for consultancy owners and staff.
“Not only do we look after other people’s content and ideas, but we also understand how to communicate that to clients,” says Mr Benson. “We came up with something that’s probably quite leading, globally, in terms of an agreement between any kind of copyright provider and an industry association.”
When the agreement with the Copyright Agency was first reached, only 12 consultancies held a copyright licence. Three years later, there is almost 100% compliance across RCG members.
“There’s a halo effect of other consultancies who are not our members, but have heard the message and are getting on board with it, who are picking up licences as well,” says Mr Benson. “They’re starting to be personally responsible and feel quite empowered by the knowledge they have around copyright. Which, to me, was a real defining moment of success.”
If we want to see this country grow and develop and be more ideas-based, then it’s going to take all of our businesses to get behind respecting content, respecting intellectual property and paying people for it when it’s produced.Adam Benson,