Tag Archives: meltwater

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

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.

paidContent:UK: Times Online blocks news aggregator Meltwater

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…

NLA suspends payment of new link charges for aggregators

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.”

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

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.