NLA faces £300,000 cost after losing court battle with PRCA

The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has been ordered to pay costs of £300,000 following a four-year court battle with the PRCA over charging people for reading online content.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham: “We couldn’t wish for a better way to end the year.”
PRCA director general Francis Ingham: “We couldn’t wish for a better way to end the year.”

The Supreme Court order comes after the PRCA won a landmark ruling against the NLA at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in June, which gave permission for Internet users to browse online without the threat of infringing copyright law.

The Supreme Court has now applied the CJEU decision for the UK, making it clear that if PRCA members do not receive any email containing published content, they do not need authorisation from the copyright holder (an NLA Web End User Licence).

The NLA has been ordered to pay online media monitoring service Meltwater and the PRCA's costs from the Supreme Court and the CJEU, as well as from the Court of Appeal.

The NLA has been ordered to pay an initial bill of £300,000 with additional costs to follow.

In its statement, the Supreme Court has ordered that: "No such licence or consent is required in respect of the on-screen and cached reproductions of web pages which are made on an end user’s computer when an end user accesses the Meltwater News service via the Meltwater website or clicks on a hyperlink provided as part of the service to a web page of the Second to Seventh Claimants."

The judgment means that Internet users are now protected by the temporary copy exception of EU copyright law when they read or browse content online.

Francis Ingham, PRCA director general, said: "We couldn’t wish for a better way to end the year than to be handed this agreement from the highest court in the UK that the NLA, which represents eight national newspapers, is wrong to charge innocent people for reading online content."

David Pugh, Managing Director of NLA media access said: "The Supreme Court is simply repeating the decision and ruling on costs made earlier this year.  NLA is paying Meltwater’s costs for the Supreme Court and CJEU cases, as we lost on the ‘temporary copying exception ‘point.

"Now this litigation has ended we look forward to working constructively with the PR industry and media monitoring organisations such as Meltwater to provide the publisher data and insight used to serve fee paying clients."

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