12 September 2011 – London- The PRCA and Meltwater Group’s challenge to the NLA’s web licence scheme today moved to the UK Copyright Tribunal.

The NLA introduced its controversial licensing plans early in 2010 to explicitly control links to newspaper articles by media monitoring companies and the PR Industry.

Both Meltwater and the PRCA deem the terms of the proposed license to be unreasonable – in particular that for simply receiving an online media monitoring service and clicking on links to read content in a public, free-to-access website, end users should pay a licence fee to the NLA.

Although disagreeing to it in principle, Meltwater has agreed to take the license required of monitors like itself, on the terms set by the Copyright Tribunal. But we are fighting the payments required by our clients for receiving a search result and for clicking on the link provided. At a time when the economy is already facing strain, these proposed licence fees significantly increase operational costs to many UK businesses.

Meltwater Group, supported by the PRCA, challenged the reasonableness of the NLA licensing schemes being imposed upon its customers, by bringing the case to the attention of the UK Copyright Tribunal.

Although Meltwater Group and the PRCA have stood alone in actively challenging the NLA, any changes to the scheme are likely to benefit not just their customers and members but the industry as a whole.

Following clarification around legal issues to do with the licensing scheme in the Courts, we feel confident that the Copyright Tribunal will rule the NLA licensing scheme is unreasonable. Meltwater and the PRCA will look to reduce the costs of the licence for end-users and challenge terms within the scheme that we believe are not in the best interests of our clients and members respectively.

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