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17 February 2012

The Copyright Tribunal has determined that the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) must cut licence fees charged to end users of news monitoring services who receive emails containing online news clippings.

Last year, in an action brought by the NLA against Meltwater, a media monitoring business, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision that PR agencies infringed newspaper copyright when they used Meltwater’s news aggregation service which provided them with emails containing news items. Following the Court of Appeal’s decision, the Tribunal was ruling on the NLA’s licensing structure, including the rates charged by the NLA to both the media monitoring service providers and to the end users of such services. The Tribunal approved the NLA licensing structure but, whilst it agreed to the NLA’s variable licence fee rates for media monitoring service providers, it ordered that the rate for end users should be significantly reduced.

The decision seems a fair one and has been welcomed by both parties: the NLA’s licensing regime remains intact with newspapers being remunerated for their content but at a rate which is equitable and proportionate to the level and type of content being provided.

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