Meltwater and PRCA to seek permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court
LONDON – July 27, 2011 — The UK Court of Appeal issued a ruling today, in NLA v Meltwater & PRCA, that anyone who clicks on a link and reads a news article on a public website in a commercial setting will infringe copyright unless licensed by the publisher.
This judgment could prove very costly for UK businesses. The Court has said that the technological process of displaying a web page on a computer is not “temporary copy” exempt from copyright. This ruling means that millions of professionals will unwittingly infringe copyright legislation on a daily basis by simply browsing the web. As a result, Meltwater and PRCA will seek permission to appeal this part of the decision to the UK Supreme Court. The Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd driving the push to license the reading of online content is owned by the eight national newspaper publishing houses.
“The ability to browse the Internet without fear of infringing copyright is a fundamental Internet principle,” said Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater. “Society is not served by this ruling and it would be absurd if interpretation of the law should clash so fundamentally with how millions of people use the internet every day.”
Although the current ruling is a partial set-back for the rights of Internet users, the judgement did modify the former High Court ruling.
“We welcome the Court of Appeal recognising that the High Court judgment went further than was warranted when it comes to the copyright of news article headlines. The Court of Appeal ruled that it will be very rare that headlines are copyrightable, which is something we’ve been saying from the start,” said Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of the PRCA. “Going back hundreds of years, no court has ever found a title worthy of copyright protection.”
“Last word in this case has not been said,” says Lyseggen. “In September, the Copyright Tribunal is scheduled to rule on the fairness of the licensing scheme pushed by the NLA. We are confident that the Copyright Tribunal will rule the NLA licensing scheme is over-reaching and unreasonable.”
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 https://www.meltwater.com.
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.