Deal pioneers solution to copyright wrangle

LONDON lawyers have ended months of negotiation over payment for photocopying copyrighted materials.

And lawyers all over the country are expected to follow suit by the end of the month.

The Copyright Licensing Association (CLA) has drawn up model agreements in which London firms pay £12 per professional employee every year to compensate writers whose work is copied.

The City of London law society has agreed the contracts and the Law Society is expected to ratify the agreement by the end of April.

CLA licensing officer Roger Bull said: “Law firms already know that intellectual property has indisputable value and that its unauthorised use is illegal and can amount to theft.”

He hoped the whole legal profession would sign up to the agreements.

Denton Hall became the first firm to take out a CLA licence under the model agreement.

Head of information Liz Cheatle said: “Few lawyers could claim not to have ever made unauthorised copies and we are pleased to have entered into this commercial agreement regularising our situation.”

Mishcon De Reya has also joined the scheme.

Initial licences will run until June 1997 and the CLA is to survey 105 firms to determine how much copying is done.