London, 16 November: The PRCA and Meltwater Group last night announced that the PRCA has appealed the issue of temporary copies to the Supreme Court in their fight against the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s proposed Web End User Licence.
Speaking to a packed room at the glittering PRCA Awards ceremony, Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive said: “Going to the Supreme Court is an enormous step. We could have walked away long ago having done our bit, having been with Meltwater, the only organisation to challenge the NLA. But those of you who know us know that was never an option. This is an absurd ruling and we must change the law or risk damaging the competitiveness of UK plc.” The announcement met with rapturous applause from the 840 PR industry professionals present.
The decision of the Supreme Court to allow the appeal reflects the extent of the potential ramifications to the effective functioning of the Internet of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the scope of what is known as the “temporary copies” exception to copyright protection. As it stands the scheme has 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 that hosts copyrighted materials. This is because the inevitable transient copies of webpages made in the process of browsing are not exempt from copyright by the temporary copies exception.
Since 2009 Meltwater and the PRCA have challenged the legality of elements of the NLA’s licensing scheme in the Courts, and have also challenged the fairness and reasonableness of the commercial terms in the UK Copyright Tribunal. The decision of the Copyright Tribunal is expected in the New Year. The Supreme Court is likely to hear the case in late 2012.
Both the PRCA and Meltwater are committed to working with publishers and respect their copyright. The organisations 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 appreciated.
Notes to Editors
An FAQ and further information on the history of the case is available 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
About the PRCA
Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. 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 250 agency members from around the world including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent around 70 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.