"if it is an infringement merely to view copyright material, without downloading or printing out, then those who browse the internet are likely unintentionally to incur civil liability, at least in principle, by merely coming upon a web-page containing copyright material in thecourse of browsing. This seems an unacceptable result, which would make infringers of many millions of ordinary users of the internet across the EU who use browsers and search engines for private as well as commercial purposes"On this of all days, there is some irony that the PRCA, headed by arch-Thatcherite Francis Ingham, will now rely on a European court to rule in its favour. Regardless, Ingham is happy with the result. Previous decisions meant clients of media monitoring services required a licence to view online media monitoring reports. By extension, this could also apply to anyone viewing copyrighted content online. If the European court rules in accordance with its existing jurisprudence, that outcome will be averted. Instead, Meltwater and other monitoring companies are likely to pay a substantially higher licence fee, as recommended by Lord Sumption, while their clients will not require a licence to view that content online. This makes more sense. It is consistent with the online reality of how news is consumed and distributed and a much simpler proposition for the PR industry. Content owners, accordingly, will continue to charge monitoring services like Meltwater. The hope is that the spectre of the NLA going after the likes of Google News, as has been suggested, will now recede. However it seems clear that this fight still has some way to go. If the ECJ rules against it, the NLA is likely to return to the Copyright Tribunal to ensure that the same overall fee levels are applied to new media monitoring licences.
The SABRE Awards is the world's largest PR awards program, running across six continents. 2016 details now available.