How does the Sejm want to use press publications?


How does the Sejm want to use press publications?

Published: 20.07.2023

On August 12, 2022, the tender committee of the Investment and Technical Bureau of the Chancellery of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland selected the winning bid for 24/7 press monitoring in the years 2022-2025. SDiW Repropol is observing the course of this tender. The documentation shows that providing the service in accordance with the terms of the contract would be extremely difficult to reconcile with the rights of publishers, including those represented by Repropol.

Considering the content of the Sejm’s announcement and our knowledge of the practice of providing media monitoring services, the glaringly low price of obtaining licenses for press publishers is a cause for concern. A conservative estimate of remuneration for publishers of press titles in the monitoring service shows that the amount of PLN 8,000. zlotys offered by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland should be many times higher, or the number of press materials to be sent daily to deputies and employees of the party and the Sejm – many times lower than assumed.

The salary table of SDiW Repropol, approved by the Copyright Commission of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, provides for two settlement options:

  1. By number of end users.
  2. According to the number of article views made by end users on the servers of the monitoring service provider.

Assuming the number of press titles listed in the SWZ (51) and the number of keywords on the basis of which articles are to be delivered, we estimate that each month the Sejm will receive on average about 2.5-3 thousand. press materials, the rights of which belong to the publishers. The Sejm, on the other hand, wants to distribute them to end users, whose number can be estimated at 600-800. Direct access to the materials provided as part of the service is to be granted to 460 deputies and employees of the contracting authority, i.e. the Sejm of the Republic of Poland and employees of parliamentary offices.

In the first variant, the Salary Table of SDiW Repropol provides for the item „over 100 end users” the rate of PLN 0.09 for each article made available to each end user. Assuming a lower probable number of users, the monthly cost of publishers’ licenses should oscillate around the amount assumed by the Sejm (PLN 2,500 x 600 x 0.09 = PLN 135,000.00 net per month).

In the variant of settlements taking into account the number of page views (and the Terms of Reference do not provide access to page views statistics), if we minimally assume the same number of users, and that on average 100 articles will be sent to the Sejm server per day, and only 10 of them will be displayed once by users , then at the rate of PLN 0.53 per page view of each article, we will receive an amount approximately ten times higher than assumed in the tender (10x600x0.53 PLNx25days=79,500.00 PLN net per month).

Meanwhile, in the tender procedure, bids were submitted for PLN 6,830 and PLN 7,700 gross per month. This means that both offers were submitted at an abnormally low price, because none of the contractors is able to cover the costs of purchasing the licenses necessary to perform the service from the remuneration obtained and at the same time pay the cost of performing the service on its side.

If we counted the other way around, assuming that the amount offered by the Sejm Office is to provide the service provider with a fair income, i.e. in the costs of the service contractor worth PLN 8,000, zlotys must „fit in” the cost of the license, which is, for example, 10% of the order amount, then in the first billing variant, the number of articles delivered could not exceed 15 per month. In the second variant – 3 views a day would exhaust the monthly price limit. Therefore, the probability that a company ready to provide the press monitoring service according to the parameters described by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland in the Specification of the Contract Conditions remains extremely low, and will provide it in accordance with the copyright law.

As we were informed by Instytut Monitorowania Mediów SA, one of the entities providing press clipping services, knowing the requirements of the ordering party and estimating the number of materials necessary to obtain from publishers, and which press materials are subject to licensing by Repropol, this company decided not to submit an offer in the parliamentary tender. According to her calculations, the cost of copyright fees alone would amount to a minimum of PLN 108,000 per month with the estimated number of 3,000 press materials.

Offers lower than this amount, and especially assuming the price of the service at the level of PLN 7-8 thousand per month – practically assume non-payment of license fees due to press publishers, i.e. fulfillment of agreements that media monitoring companies have with Repropol representing publishers, and remaining in accordance with Art. 110 of copyright law and contracts that both pressclipper companies offering their services have with our association.

Meanwhile, the Sejm Investment and Technical Office assumed that it would obtain press materials by paying monthly many times below the legally and factually justified estimates, while the bidders, „Press-Service” Monitoring Mediów and Newspoint, offered to provide materials covered by the rights of publishers of 51 press titles for such a low fee.

At the same time, the risk of legal consequences of concluding a contract between the Chancellery of the Sejm and the pressclipper on the terms described above only seemingly remains mainly on the side of the service provider. Along with the offer, he submitted a statement on the possession of a legal title to offer content licensed by copyright law. The use of articles to a greater extent than it results from the licenses purchased by the winning contractor will also constitute an infringement of the economic copyrights of press publishers. Repropol is entitled to claim damages from entities infringing copyrights for infringements.

So we will continue to watch the parliamentary tender.

The remuneration table of the Association of Journalists and Publishers REPROPOL, adjusted in accordance with Art. 80 sec. 5 in connection joke. 133 sec. 3 of the Act of June 15, 2018 on collective management of copyright and related rights (Journal of Laws, item 1293), with effect from April 1, 2022.

Photo of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland: author – Kpalion, license – Wikipedia Creative Commons license.

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