Is the Supreme Court judgment a Pirates’ Charter?

An interesting analysis of last week’s Supreme Court judgment in NLA's case with Meltwater has just been published by Simon Clark and Toby Headdon, our legal team at Berwin Leighton Paisner. They observe that “the Supreme Court’s view does raise some difficult issues which the ECJ will no doubt need to consider carefully. On its view, from a copyright perspective, viewing pirated copies of content online becomes fair game with no disincentive for web users to use legitimate sources. The copyright owner will be left to pursue the source of the pirated material, no doubt located offshore, or seek a blocking injunction against ISPs, which are often circumvented. The decision could be viewed by many as something of an online pirate’s charter”.

No doubt content owners in the music and video areas will be paying the judgment serious attention.

BLP go on to suggest that this could be one more nudge in the direction of pay-walls for news publishers – which will make the media monitoring aspects of the judgment increasingly irrelevant by the time the ECJ rules.

To read more:

David Pugh
Managing Director, NLA

Follow the NLA on Twitter - @NLA_ltd


Meltwater’ legal case on temporary copies referred to ECJ

The Supreme Court today referred to the European Courts of Justice (ECJ) the NLA and Meltwater legal case relating to 'temporary copying'.

The European Courts of Justice will now consider whether an alerts service delivered as a web link would be covered by the temporary copies exception. The UK Supreme Court favoured the appeal but has sought confirmation from the ECJ before issuing any final ruling on this issue.

The Supreme Court considered whether a Meltwater service in which the end user opened articles on a publisher site might fall within the temporary copying exception. The case followed an appeal on one narrow technical aspect of the ‘Meltwater’ legal case Court of Appeal judgment in 2011 (all other issues decided in the NLA’s favour remain unaffected).

There is no immediate impact on the NLA web licences. Newspaper headlines and text extracts
continue to attract copyright, Media Monitoring Organisations (MMO’s) will continue to require licences for the content they distribute, and end users will continue to require a licence for the content they receive by e-mail. The ECJ is expected to take many months to reach a conclusion so it could be two or three years before any final order is made.

David Pugh, Managing Director of the NLA said:

“We will now await the ECJ’s judgement on this matter –which may take some time regardless of the final outcome, we welcome the fact that core NLA principles have been upheld by the Supreme Court – paid-for web monitoring services using publishers’ content require copyright licences and therefore remuneration for publishers.”

“We are also pleased to see that the Supreme Court acknowledged that if an end user of an alert service delivered as a web link (rather than by e-mail) were not required to pay a licence fee, then Meltwater’s licence fee would very likely be substantially higher – a view that the NLA expressed before the Copyright Tribunal last year.”

Notes to Editors
This Supreme Court referral to the ECJ relates to a narrow technical legal matter in the Meltwater legal case, following the resolution of earlier High and Appeal court proceedings and the Copyright Tribunal.

Meltwater continues to be licenced by the NLA for newspaper publishers online content.


Global solutions from the creative industries

There was good news last month when the Government promised to contribute £150,000 in funds to the Copyright Hub, matching industry support.  It was equally pleasing to see another step forward in creative industry collaboration announced by the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) this week.

The LCC is creating the first ever international rights management framework for Copyright.  The Framework should contribute to enabling the management and access of online rights information seamlessly across all types of media and content, whether text, image, sound or audio-visual. The LCC work is fundamental to the development of the Copyright Hub in the UK.

This project has huge potential to simplify both rights management for collecting societies, and make life easier for businesses and individuals who need to access copyright across borders.  It will also help to create a simple mechanism to enable creators to claim intellectual property rights in their works – whether for commercial or non-commercial use.  This is particularly important in the digital age, as without such a framework it is very difficult to identify the owners of many works placed online.
As with the Copyright Hub, the NLA is involved with the LCC as a member and funding contributor.  LCC Chairman, Christoph Keese from Axel Springer explains more about the opportunity the Framework presents here.  

David Pugh
Managing Director, NLA

Follow the NLA on Twitter - @NLA_ltd


Paywalls and Media Monitoring

Following yesterday’s announcements that The Telegraph and the Sun are adopting paid models NLA is watching the UK newspaper movement towards paywall models with great interest. As providers of paid access to news content to professional monitoring agencies, we have a natural bias to support these changes. Anything that makes the value of content clearer tends to get our vote.

The NLA is also feeling good about the decision we made three years ago to develop eClips web. This takes data directly from newspapers’ production systems, allowing faster and more accurate coverage of what was printed. It also allows subscribing media monitoring companies and their professional users seamless access to pay-walled material.  The service is also used by many publishers to feed content to licensed third parties like Factiva and Lexis-Nexis. The return on the investment comes from ensuring the professional information users who expect a premium service get the data they need, and that publishers get properly paid. 

In the USA ‘soft’ or metered pay-walls have become common place, with over 400 dailies now operating this model . NLA is ready to make the connections needed between publishers, monitoring agencies and users if and when – as seems increasingly likely – the UK follows that lead.

Andrew Hughes

Commercial Director, NLA

Follow the NLA on Twitter - @NLA_ltd


Copyright Hub gets government support

Good news: Lord Younger, the Intellectual Property Minister has just announced government funding for the Copyright Hub project led by Richard Hooper.

The £150,000 promised by the government matches funding already provided by publishers and licensing agencies - including the NLA - that has supported the development of the project in its first year. It is hoped that the first stage of the project will be operational in 2014; simplifying copyright licensing for business users.

David Pugh
Managing Director, NLA

Follow the NLA on Twitter - @NLA_ltd