PRCA appeals High Court decision in favour of Newspaper Licensing Agency

The PRCA has appealed last month's High Court decision in favour of the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), dubbing the decision 'fundamentally flawed'.

Francis Ingham: PRCA chief executive
Francis Ingham: PRCA chief executive

The representative body had argued, along with Meltwater News, that agencies should be free to receive online media monitoring services without incurring hefty charges.

But in a judgment issued on 26 November, Mrs Justice Proudman ruled that web links taken from online news sources are protected by copyright law.

Following this, PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham has just issued a video statement, in which he says: ‘Fifteen minutes ago the PRCA appealed last month’s High Court decision in favour of the NLA, on behalf of its members and the wider PR industry.’

He goes on to add: ‘We were disappointed by the High Court’s decision and believe it fundamentally to be flawed. We believe it risks putting an end to the freedom with which information can be shared on the Internet. The implication is that the mere act of browsing freely accessible websites will require a copyright licence.

‘We are therefore appealing the decision. We anticipate that even if our appeal is unsuccessful, the Copyright Tribunal will find that the terms of the licences and the fees sought from customers are unreasonable and so will reduce the fees. In this event, end users will still be in a better position.’

To view Ingham’s full statement, go to prca.org.uk/nlaappeal.

NLA managing director David Pugh responded: ‘We expected the PRCA to appeal against the High Court’s decision and we hope it is heard as soon as possible.

‘The High Court ruled that businesses paying for Meltwater’s media monitoring service need to have an NLA licence and we hope that this ruling is upheld. This case is about the 5,000 companies trading in newspaper web content; not friends sharing links.’

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