Browse > Home /

NLA’s High Court action no cause for concern, say Meltwater and PRCA

May 25th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Aggregator Meltwater and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) have said they remain confident that the courts will support their case in the dispute with the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) over new licence fees, despite the NLA’s decision to take the matter to the High Court.

Yesterday the NLA said it had started proceedings against Meltwater and the PRCA to help speed up the process of determining whether its new licences – introduced in January, which affect commercial services using links to its newspaper members’ content – are legal. Meltwater and the PRCA have referred the licences and the NLA to a Copyright Tribunal, but the agency is concerned that the Tribunal does not have the powers to make the ultimate decision on the licences’ legality.

The PRCA and Meltwater released the following joint statement:

Having initially learned about the NLA’s decision to take Meltwater and the PRCA to court through the press, both parties have only just received the papers concerning this claim.

While we understand that the industry will want clarification on this issue, we do not see this development as cause for concern.

Naturally, we are reviewing the papers in consultation with our legal advisors. But not wishing to prejudice our case with the Copyright Tribunal, which we believe to be strong, we will study the NLA’s claim before responding.

We remain confident, however, that the NLA’s proposals for a web licence are flawed and that the courts will support our views on this.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

paidContent:UK: Times Online blocks news aggregator Meltwater

March 17th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Search

Following its decision in January to block the NewsNow news monitoring site, Times Online has blocked fellow news aggregator Meltwater.

Meltwater is the only aggregation service that has not complied with a new system introduced by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) at the start of 2010, which includes charging sites that crawl newspaper websites and use this information as part of a commercial service to clients.

Meltwater is taking the NLA to a copyright tribunal and on Monday was told its challenge would go ahead with a procedural hearing in June 2010 and a trial in February 2011.

Full story at this link…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

NLA suspends payment of new link charges for aggregators

January 7th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Yet another twist in the ongoing dispute over new charges affecting media monitoring services and aggregators introduced by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) this year.

From 1 January the NLA started charging sites, including aggregators, that link to newspaper websites and articles as part of their paid-for services.

The organisation, which is owned by eight UK national newspaper publishers, is only targetting commercial services so as to recoup some revenue from the use of newspapers’ online content.

But the NLA has announced it will suspend invoicing for these charges until the results of a copyright tribunal. The NLA has been taken to the tribunal by Meltwater, the Norwegian-owned media monitoring firm that has not agreed to the NLA’s new system, is taking the NLA to a UK copyright tribunal, arguing that it is equivalent to a stealth tax and not supported by English law.

“Meltwater’s position is that end users do not need a licence to simply receive links and read articles on the NLA’s members’ websites, and we welcome the NLA’s reasonable and proportionate response to the issue now being before the Copyright Tribunal,” said Jørn Lyseggen, CEO Meltwater Group, in a statement to Journalism.co.uk.

If the tribunal finds in favour of the NLA, the agency will backdate payments to 1 January 2010. The date for the tribunal has not yet, but an NLA spokesman said the agency hoped it would be completed by the end of the year.

“We are confident that the copyright tribunal will recognise our web licensing scheme is measured and reasonable. But we do not want any licensed users of newspaper web monitoring to be disadvantaged by Meltwater’s action. Clients of all
monitoring agencies should be on a level playing field. We have therefore decided not to invoice clients for their web licence until the copyright tribunal process is complete,” says David Pugh, managing director of the NLA, in a release.

Meltwater is one of only a small number of services that have refused the NLA’s new fees. News aggregator NewsNow was forced to drop some links to newspaper sites from its paid-for aggregation service as a result of the new system and last month launched a campaign calling for search engines, aggregators and other websites to be legally protected when linking to other online material using a headline, short quote or summary with attribution.

Commenting on the NLA’s decision to suspend invoicing, Struan Bartlett, managing director of NewsNow, said: “‘Measured and reasonable’ are the last two words I would choose to describe the NLA web licensing scheme. One might read it that this move by the NLA indicates they think there is a risk that they will lose the case, and that in that event they would not want to be burdened with having to repay fees wrongly claimed from businesses.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

NewsNow re-enters newspaper linking fight with campaign; Meltwater takes NLA to copyright tribunal

December 17th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers, Online Journalism

NewsNow, the online news aggregator which this week said it would drop links to some newspaper sites from its paid-for service, has now launched a campaign calling for search engines, aggregators and other websites to be legally protected when linking to other online material using a headline, short quote or summary with attribution.

The Right2Link campaign, while not aimed directly at the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has no doubt been sparked by the ongoing dispute between NewsNow and the agency over its plans to introduce a licensing system for commercial services, such as aggregators, using links to newspaper websites from January 2010, which forced NewsNow to remove some links.

“Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, as well as other new economy businesses that act as portals and link aggregators, occupy a key role in identifying links that are of interest to be read and passed on.  They are a key part of the world wide web’s system of circulating information,” says a press release from the campaign.

The campaign also attacks representatives from print media groups that demand organisations obtain permission to use links to their newspapers’ websites.

But this isn’t what the NLA is asking for. It only wants to regulate areas where the newspaper links are being used for commercial gain and is a supporter NewsNow’s non-commercial services, for example its free feeds to consumers, it says.

Online media monitoring firm Meltwater, which is also signed up to the campaign but has not agreed to the NLA’s new system, is taking the NLA to a UK copyright tribunal arguing that the new system is equivalent to a stealth tax and not supported by English law.

“We use sophisticated search algorithms to help our clients find content they otherwise would have difficulties locating. The NLA’s attempt to license our clients is essentially a tax on receiving these internet links. This fee is not only unjust and unreasonable, it is contrary to the very spirit of the internet,” argues Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater Group, in a statement.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Aggregator NewsNow says publishers seeking court injunction to stop linking

October 28th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

In an open letter to publishers last week, news aggregator NewsNow claimed its service is under threat following legal pressure from UK newspaper publishers.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk at the time, managing director Struan Bartlett said almost all of those publishers named and regional newspaper group were putting pressure on the site.

Some publishers have demanded compensation for the site’s links to their content rather than a revenue share, he added.

Today Bartlett has published a ‘free linking’ Q&A outlining further details of the site’s deteriorating relationship with newspaper publishers.

In the post, Bartlett lists the publishers threatening action against the aggregator and says a number of publishers are threatening to seek a court injunction that would stop us linking if the site doesn’t accept proposed charges and controls.

“It is true that news providers perform a critical public-interest role, something we are dedicated to supporting. But the role of news aggregators, as platforms that enable people to locate news and that support a competitive market in news providers, is today equally critical to the public interest,” says the Q&A.

“The impact of the publishers’ proposed charges and controls on link aggregation services like ours is not in the public interest or compatible with newspapers’ stated desire to safeguard journalism and to protect freedom of expression, freedom of communication and access to news.”

Journalism.co.uk also heard from the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) in response to our report on NewsNow’s open letter last week. A spokesman said the NLA supported NewsNows’ non-commercial services e.g. free feeds to consumers.

“We want links back to publishers’ sites and understand their centrality to the internet,” he said.

With regards to NewsNows’ commercial activity e.g. its bespoke feeds for clients, the agency said it is seeking to ‘license and legitimise this activity – not stop it’. In June the agency announced that it intends to start charging web aggregators for a licence permitting them to use links to newspaper articles.

“The NLA believes a legitimate and thriving market in web cuttings – with fair shares for content creators and distributors – will be better for all,” the spokesman said.

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Journalism Daily: Rue89’s Canadian expansion, WaPo’s WebCom and KNC 2010

September 3rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Editor’s picks:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Update: Newspaper Licensing Agency hits back at claim it is ‘taxing the internet’

September 3rd, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

Last week PR industry reps and news aggregators accused the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) of a  ‘blatant and unjustified attempt to tax the internet’, over plans to charge them for redistributing hyperlinks.

In a letter issued on Thursday, Meltwater, NewsNow, the PR Consultants Association and Updatum called for the NLA ‘to stop this legally baseless attempt to assert its copyright’. The letter was a response to the NLA’s announcement in June that it intends to start charging web aggregators for a licence, permitting them to use links to newspaper articles.

Now, in a statement issued to paidContent:UK, NLA commerical director Andrew Hughes has said the intention behind the licence is to redistribute some of the ‘substantial revenues (aggregators) generate to the content owners’.

As the NLA estimate aggregators and news monitors make a combined annual revenue of £10 million, plans to charge ‘circa 10 percent’ for ‘content scraping’, would mean £1 million could be distributed back to the NLA’s 1,400 member newspapers.

Hughes told paidContent: “Monitoring companies create their services by copying newspaper content into a database to find relevant articles. This is commercial use of publishers’ intellectual property and is against the terms of use for every newspaper. By licensing this activity, the NLA will legitimise this industry.”

The NLA reports it has already signed up several aggregators to the plan, and responded to claims made in the letter that the licence could cost customers an extra £33,474 a year as ‘unsubstantiated and inaccurate’. This figure is in fact the maximum annual fee the NLA could charge for such a licence.

The decision to charge for hyperlinks has sparked much debate since it was announced, with the the Public Relations Consultants Association launching a petition opposing the licence.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

PRCA launches petition against NLA’s backlink charging plans

August 10th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) has launched a petition on Twitter calling on the Newspaper Licensing Agency to abandon recent proposals to charge organisations that forward and receive URLs of newspaper articles.

There’s been some strong criticism from the industry about the plans already and the PRCA has been consulting stakeholders and members on their views.

“The PRCA has proactively communicated the NLA’s proposals to agencies and the disbelief and anger they have generated extends far beyond our membership. While the NLA has accepted our offer to help them consult with the industry, they need to show this is a genuine consultation by changing their proposals and being transparent about their future pricing plans,” said Richard Ellis, communications director at the PRCA, which represents PR agencies and the wider industry, in a statement on the organisation’s website.

Follow the petition’s progress on the PRCA’s twitter account.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

PR Week: CIPR president on the NLA’s backlink charging plans

July 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

The latest response to the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s (NLA) proposals to regulate hyperlinks to newspaper content for commercial agencies and aggregators – this time from president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Kevin Taylor.

“I want newspapers to be successful and profitable. I want good standards of journalism and I’m prepared to do my bit: buy a quality daily newspaper and not rely on the free sheets. I hope advertising and online revenues pick up and our best newspapers survive and thrive,” writes Taylor.

“But these latest proposed NLA charges are not the way to fund the newspaper industry. They are nonsensical. The Government needs to be strong enough to stand up to the newspaper owners and impose some regulation on the NLA.

“They are simply a commercial organisation trying to make a living – but they can’t invent a parallel universe in order to justify their charges.”

Full post at this link…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

paidContent:UK: News aggregator may take legal action against NLA copying levy

June 29th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

On Friday paidContent:UK reported this:

“Online news aggregator Moreover is considering taking legal action against the Newspaper Licensing Agency in response to plans to impose a levy on re-distribution of online newspaper articles. paidContent:UK understands more commercial aggregators may also explore action against what they see as a direct attempt to compromise their business model.”

In an update, the NLA’s commercial director, Andrew Hughes told paidContent:UK that the agency  wants to ‘work with aggregators, not against them’.

Full story at this link…

Also see: ‘Going back to the backlink licensing case: NLA’s full statement’ [Journalism.co.uk Editors' Blog]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement