FRIDAY 8 FEB 2013 11:39 AM


The last step in the three-year court battle between the NLA and the PRCA and Meltwater has taken a step beyond the Court of Appeal's decision in the summer of 2011. That road has led to the Supreme Court, where the PRCA and Meltwater will find out as to the legality of accessing online news content.

The Supreme Court will hear the case on Monday and Tuesday of next week in what will be the conclusion of the three-year court battle that began in January 2010. The NLA introduced fees for media monitoring or aggregation services which can turn reading the news online into a copyright violation.

The previous decision, made by the Court of Appeal ruled that accessing an article via a third-party web page can violate copyright law if it is viewed without the explicit consent of the copyright owner. The PRCA and Meltwater support the claim that reading and viewing work is not unlawful and should not be considered in violation of EU copyright law.

Francis Ingham, PRCA director general, says, “We believe that the Court of Appeal’s ruling has implications on the millions of people using the Internet who, due to that decision, are now infringing copyright by viewing articles that have been lawfully put online.”

The legal dispute was also heard by the Copyright Tribunal last May as to the fairness of the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s Web End User License (WEUL). The WEUL applies fees to media monitoring agencies and their clients for clippings accessed on the internet. The PRCA and Meltwater have endeavoured to protect internet users from unintentionally infringing copyright law when reading news online.