London, 7 November 2011- Meltwater Group and the PRCA welcome the decision by the UK Supreme Court to grant permission to appeal a recent ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal regarding the NLA’s proposed web end user licensing scheme in the UK.

The decision of the Supreme Court to allow the appeal reflects the significant potential ramifications (for society and the economy as a whole) of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the scope of what is known as the “temporary copies” exception to copyright protection.

Since 2009 Meltwater and the PRCA have stood alone challenging the NLA’s licensing scheme both in the Courts and in the Copyright Tribunal. If unchallenged the scheme will increase costs to Meltwater customers and all users of commercial media monitoring services, many of whom are PRCA members.

The scheme has also resulted in an interpretation of UK copyright law by the Court of Appeal which effectively puts millions of UK citizens into conflict with the law every time they visit a website or click on a link because the inevitable transient copies of webpages made in the process of browsing are not exempt from copyright by the temporary copies exception.

The scope of the temporary copies exception is fundamental to how the Internet functions and both the PRCA and Meltwater welcome the decision to allow an appeal of the Court of Appeal’s very narrow interpretation.

The PRCA and Meltwater have also contested the fairness and reasonableness of the commercial terms of the NLA’s web end user licence in the UK Copyright Tribunal.  Argument was heard on this in September and the Tribunal’s decision is still pending.

Both the PRCA and Meltwater are committed to working with publishers as we respect their copyright.  We believe, however, that the proposed NLA scheme is unfair and unreasonable and that the issue of temporary copies has far wider ramifications than the Court of Appeal intended.

An FAQ on the issues surrounding the case may be found here.


About The Meltwater Group

The Meltwater Group is a privately held software company founded in Norway in 2001, serving more than 18,000 clients through 57 offices located across North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. Meltwater is committed to challenging existing business models by introducing disruptive technologies. The Meltwater Group delivers B2B solutions based on search engine technology, cloud computing and talent management software. For more information, please visit

About PRCA

Who we are:

Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams and PR freelancers.  The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do:

The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference:

All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Who we represent:

The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 230 agency members from around the world including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent around 60 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organizations.

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