High Court Says Newspapers Can Charge for Weblinks

As reported by Inform Blog
the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has a right to charge for aggregated web links under copyright law pursuant to a ruling from Justice Proudman in the High Court. Aggregated web links taken from newspaper websites are protected by copyright law. The NLA is owned by eight of the largest newspaper publishers in the UK.

Copyright now appears to apply to aggregated online news headlines, so any person using such a service has to do so with a licensing agreement with the NLA.

End-users who pay a news aggregator and international media monitoring service likeMeltwater News to distribute online newspaper content in this format is therefore infringing copyright if they do so without a licence from the NLA.

The NLA have a web licensing scheme placing restrictions on whether aggregators can copy and distribute online newspaper content. Press cuttings agencies pay the NLA a fee for reproducing newspaper articles in full for re-use. Under this web licensing scheme the NLA have entered into hundreds of licences which cover not only the articles in full but also the use of news headlines (an issue which has resulted in litigation) and aggregation services.

Meltwater refused to pay the sum of 10,000 pounds annually to the NLA to permit it to use headlines, links and short snippets from online stories. Meltwater brought action in the Copyright Tribunal to challenge the reasonableness of the terms of the licensing scheme, due to be decided in February next year.

As in the hot news misappropriation and copyright litigation, the NLA stated that generating news content was a substantial investment and that online providers were free riding on their efforts.

Taken to it’s logical conclusion, simply viewing copyright protected news content which is available on the internet could render a user liable for copyright infringement if the material they read has not been acquired with a licence.

This wasn’t the way the internet was intended to be used!

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One Response to High Court Says Newspapers Can Charge for Weblinks

  1. Pingback: High Court Says News Headlines Are Copyright Works | Pace Legal Intellectual Property

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