The Public Relations Consultants Association and Meltwater are today celebrating a landmark legal victory against the Newspaper Licensing Agency at the Court of Justice of the EU, confirming internet users right to browse the web without fear of infringing copyright law.
In its judgement the court accepted the arguments put forward by the PRCA that viewing online articles does not require authorisation from the copyright holder, culminating a four year legal battle with the NLA.
As such internet users now enjoy the protection afforded by the temporary copy exception of EU copyright law whilst browsing.
PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: “We are utterly delighted that the CJEU has accepted all of our arguments against the NLA, which represents eight national newspapers. The Court of Justice, like the Supreme Court before them, understands that the NLA’s attempts to charge for reading online content do not just affect the PR world, but the fundamental rights of all EU citizens to browse the Internet. This is a huge step in the right direction for the courts as they seek ways to deal with the thorny issues of Internet use and copyright law.”
Giving the NLA's perspective David Pugh, managing director, NLA media access added: “We are pleased that throughout these court cases, which began in the High Court in 2010, the principle that publishers should be fairly remunerated for use of their copyrighted content has been upheld.
“The court cases have been critical in confirming copyright principles. Now that these principles have been established NLA will continue to work closely with Meltwater to supply them and their clients with appropriate licences for their use of publisher content. Negotiated commercial solutions which recognise and meet the needs of all parties are the way forward.”