Wolfe Words writing, publicity and media strategy

Article: Sharing Media Clips—Are You Infringing Copyright?

Recently, the Copyright Agency has started fining PR agencies for posting media clippings on their websites and / or sharing clips with clients, without paying a copyright licence fee. Be aware—and be prepared!

by Diana Wolfe

An edited version of this how-to article was published in No Fussing About e-news on 1 February 2014.


Recently, the Copyright Agency has started fining PR agencies for posting media clippings on their websites and / or sharing clips with clients, without paying a copyright licence fee. Unbeknown to many, the copyright fee we pay to media monitoring services such as Slice does not entitle us to reproduce and distribute the clips, even to the clients who paid for the campaign. So whenever we happily report on our media campaigns (with clippings attached) to clients, we’re breaking copyright law.
While it may look like a money-raking exercise by the publishers and media, and PRs might be tempted to ignore the warnings, this is brewing as a big issue that won’t go away. No matter how large or small your agency, if you’re found to be in breach of copyright, ignorance is no excuse. Some agencies have already been fined thousands of dollars for past transgressions, without being aware they were breaking the law.
If you want to continue sending clips to clients (and how else do we prove the success of a campaign, apart from forwarding URL links to the stories online, which is legal?), you’ll need to buy a Business Copyright Licence through the Copyright Agency. You can purchase a pay-for-use licence or an annual licence, the fee for which varies according to how many employees you have, the number of clients you have, and the estimated number of clips you’ll forward to them each month. And you have to report annually on the clips you’ve forwarded and / or posted online.
You can opt to purchase a retrospective licence, backdated for the past six years, which is the statute of limitations for a publisher to take legal action under the Copyright Act 1968.
The Public Relations Institute of Australia is keeping its members abreast of the situation with webinars, podcasts, Q&As etc., and it’s also worth checking out the Australian Copyright Council website.

© 2014 Diana Wolfe. This article may be reproduced and shared in part or fully across any platform or media, provided the author’s name and business name (Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Words) is acknowledged.

Hanover Welfare Services Annual Report 2013

Annual Reports

I’ve written, edited and produced numerous annual reports. They include:

  • Hanover Welfare Services, 2012 & 2013
  • Very Special Kids 2007
  • Salvation Army Australia (Southern Territory), 2002—2004
  • Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology (lead agency: Sage Words), 2002
  • Dairy Research and Development Corporation, 2002
Wolfe Words writing, publicity and media strategy

Article: Nine Ways To Help Get Your Media Release Published

There’s nothing more frustrating and disappointing for clients and publicists when a media release goes ignored and unpublished. So why does it happen? Sometimes a big news story breaks or journalists are away or your story clashes with one they’ve recently run… there are no guarantees but here are some ways of improving your chances of publication.

by Diana Wolfe

An edited version of this how-to article was published in No Fussing About e-news on 23 July 2012.

There’s nothing more frustrating and disappointing for clients and publicists when a carefully-crafted media release goes ignored and unpublished. There are many reasons this happens, some out of our control and some that can be managed.

Work with your publicist to get these things right:

  1. Quality media release – well written, newsworthy, concise, accurate releases are essential.
  2. Credibility – the media quickly ‘turns off’ when you bombard them with badly-written media releases that can’t be followed up with good photos and ‘talent’ for interviews. It takes PR agencies and publicists years to build relationships and rapport with journalists, so that when they see a media release on your letterhead they know it’s credible and newsworthy.
  3. Timeliness – know journalists’ deadlines and timeframes, and the best time to send out particular stories. Contact them well in advance, follow up when you know they’re not so busy, and avoid pestering them on deadline.
  4. Focus – only send media releases to journalists that are interested in your topic, issue, product or event.
  5. Personalise – never bcc journalists; always use their first name and add a personal message, even when doing a big mail-out.
  6. Follow up – with a brief email note and / or phone call. Keep phone calls friendly but brief and to-the-point.
  7. Advertising and promotional tie-ins – some media outlets (particularly suburban press) will give editorial or ‘advertorial’ priority to advertisers, or do giveaways; it’s worth asking.
  8. Alternative ways of contacting journalists – more and more journalists are using social media, particularly Twitter, to source stories; do your research.
  9. Be prepared – have quality high-resolution photographs, video footage, audio grabs available if possible, and make sure your media spokespeople are well briefed in advance.

But even when you’ve done everything ‘right’, sometimes a big news story breaks or journalists are away or your story clashes with one they’ve recently run… or a hundred other factors beyond your control mean that your email inbox and voicemail remain sadly empty.
If so, don’t despair! Get on the phone to a ‘friendly’ journalist or two and ask their advice; their replies are always enlightening. Sometimes they file your story for future reference. Sometimes they run the story later on, when it better suits their timeframe or subject area. Sometimes they forward it on to colleagues who cover your type of story. It’s very, very rarely personal and mostly they’ve just overlooked your release or been busy with other stories.
The important things to remember are not to blame the publicist, yourself, or the media. Go back to the above tips, re-evaluate your media release, and identify areas for improvement next time.

© 2012 Diana Wolfe. This article may be reproduced and shared in part or fully across any platform or media, provided the author’s name and business name (Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Words) is acknowledged.

Article: Play Like A Girl—Women, Music, Inspire, Play!

No matter how much we like to think the sexes are ‘equal’ in the music industry and no matter how accomplished women musicians are, when it comes to jamming they often seem to hang back and let the boys do the playing.

by Diana Wolfe and Fiona Wilde

An edited version of this essay was first published in Australian Musician magazine on 1 December 2007.

Australian Musician magazine Summer 2007

Australian Musician magazine Summer 2007

No matter how much we like to think the sexes are ‘equal’ in the music industry and no matter how accomplished women musicians are, when it comes to jamming they often seem to hang back and let the boys do the playing.
Like a lot of ideas, ‘Play Like A Girl’ started with a ‘whinge’! I was complaining to my musician girlfriends about how few women perform at jams around town and how few opportunities there seem to be for women in music once they’re ‘past their use-by date’, and one of them said, “Why don’t you do something about it then?”
Oh, me and my big mouth. But sometimes it takes a kick up the backside to get things rolling… so I hooked up with a long-time friend, rock guitarist Fiona Wilde, and we started approaching women artists, venues, promoters, agents, music stores, merch companies, graphic designers…
And on International Women’s Day 2007 we launched Play Like A Girl. The sold-out crowd at the Northcote Social Club were treated to amazing performances by some of Melbourne’s hottest emerging women artists — Liz Stringer, Dallas Frasca, and Milk — as well as ARIA winners Lisa Miller and Monique Brumby, and Ella Hooper. Lindy Morrison, former drummer for the Go Betweens and a staunch advocate for women in music, compered the night.
Now we run monthly Play Like A Girl jam sessions at 303 in Northcote (the last Tuesday night of each month) and attract up to 50 women each night. It’s a great vibe, and any worries we had about getting enough women up to jam were dispelled on the first night when we ran an hour and a half over time!
Our host artists represent a range of genres and styles, and have included Kerri Simpson, Cyndi Boste, Nat Allison, Tracey Miller, and Emily Hayes and Helen Begley from ‘Milk’, all of whom have inspired us with their approach to playing, performing, singing and songwriting.
As for the ‘jammers’, we’ve had sax players, guitarists, keyboard players, drummers, singers, bassists, violinists and even a girl on a resonator ukulele! We’ve had women from all over Victoria, and we’re always welcoming new faces.
Our aim is for Play Like A Girl to:
1) Provide an opportunity for women musicians to network, gain inspiration and support from each other;
2) Encourage women of all ages to develop and maintain viable and rewarding careers in music; and
3) Create a ‘safe space’ for women musicians of all genres to jam together and expand their creativity, skills and networks.
Billy Hydes Music has come on board as a sponsor, generously providing backline gear and promotion for the jams. DesignGrant designed our funky logo, which adorns our posters, postcards, T-shirts and badges.
Play Like A Girl seems to have come at the right time. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response, and we’re excited about helping to create a strong, nurturing, supportive environment for women in music.
We’re currently organising our next International Women’s Day concert, and hope to take Play Like A Girl out to regional areas, to schools and around the country in future. We’re also exploring possibilities for mentoring programs, compilation CDs etc, to help women further their careers in music.
If you’re a female musician of any age or stage, we’d love to hear from you — drop in to a jam session or send us an email.
Happy playing!