THURSDAY 17 MAY 2012 9:30 AM


The Copyright Tribunal has ruled, in its Final Decision on the copyright case fought between the NLA and Meltwater supported by the PRCA, that licensing can now begin on mutually accepted terms.

The decision is a result of the lengthy case, reported throughout by Communicate, involving Newspaper Licensing Agency’s (NLA) Web End User Licensing scheme (WEUL), which Meltwater Group challenged over its legality and the reasonableness of its fees for online news content.

The fees apply to media monitoring agencies and their clients: where monitoring agencies used to pay subscriptions to bodies such as the NLA in order to take physical clippings and send them to clients, the new licensing will allow the NLA to derive income from the online scraping of clippings.

As a result, the NLA will commence invoicing for approved fees from next month, which will be backdated to 1st January 2010, an outcome that both parties support.

“We are happy with the Copyright Tribunal decision, says Jens-Petter Glittenberg, co-founder at Meltwater Group.

“Our aim from the outset was to seek clarification of UK copyright law for both rights-holders and end users, particularly for content freely available online.”

The NLA and licensed MMOs, including Meltwater, have agreed to co-ordinate client communications to serve the best interests of their mutual clients and ensure that the licensing process is comprehensive, efficient and straightforward.

David Pugh, Managing Director of the NLA, says: “I am pleased we now have clarity and more importantly certainty for clients.”

Another aspect driving the case was Meltwater’s concern with the issue of “double licensing,” in which the NLA proposed a license fee for paid media monitoring services, who supply and receive headlines, text extracts and links to newspaper websites, as well as their clients.

This case is being taken through the UK courts, which so far has ruled the NLA will have to cut their fees from 2013 onwards. Meltwater said this would save businesses an estimated £100million over the next three years, while the NLA’s estimate was £2million.