PRCA considers appeal against High Court ruling on NLA web link payments

The PRCA is considering heading to the Court of Appeal after losing its court battle with The Newspaper Licensing Agency over payment for web links.

Judgement: High Court ruling could hit PR agencies
Judgement: High Court ruling could hit PR agencies

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 last Friday, Mrs Justice Proudman ruled that web links taken from online news sources are protected by copyright law.

The judgment against Meltwater News and the PRCA found that online cuttings service would infringe publishers' copyright if they aggregated online links without an NLA licence.

The NLA welcomed the judgment. 'We hope this ruling will help ensure a fair share of web monitoring revenue for publishers and a fair media monitoring market,' said MD David Pugh. 'Creating news content for the web is a substantial investment for publishers. It is, therefore, only right they take a share when others are profiting from it.'

But PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham responded defiantly to the ruling, telling PRWeek: 'As we consider the grounds for appeal, it does not however diminish our confidence that the NLA is not entitled to impose end user licences on individuals and organisations who receive monitoring services directing them to the newspapers' own websites.'

The PRCA has 14 days in which to appeal and plans to announce its next move next week.

Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson voiced support for the PRCA's position: 'Asserting your moral right to be recognised as the author or publisher is one thing, but trying to restrict the free flow of information seems a bit much,' he said.

Fishburn Hedges MD Fiona Thorne added: 'It is entirely understandable for content creators to want to protect, and generate revenue, from the material they create.

'However ... the right answer surely has to be innovation rather than litigation.'

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