Meltwater, UK Newspapers Each Get Partial Victory In Web Fees Ruling

In its ruling setting copying fees for news monitor clients who receive newspaper websites’ online story clippings, the UK’s Copyright Tribunal has given news monitor Meltwater a partial victory but upheld other rates.

The UK’s main eight national news publishers, through their Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), recently extended their photocopying levy with two new online licenses. Meltwater did not object to the first license, which requires fees between £5,000 to £10,000 from commercial news monitors like itself.

But it contested the second license, which requires fees from the services’ end users like public relations practitioners. They last year lost High Court and Court Of Appeal cases, which confirmed not only that news aggregators are effectively copying content by ingesting it, processing it and sending summaries with links to clients, but also that those clients are themselves complicit for receiving the summaries and links through Meltwater.

Ruling on the actual rates on Tuesday, the Copyright Tribunal approved the NLA’s proposed variable rates for clients but reduced the 2012 fixed fee required by small PR companies from the proposed £258 to £150. It also ruled future rate hikes should be limited only to inflation.

Meltwater CEO Jørn Lyssegen tells paidContent he has appealed aspects of the UK case to the UK’s Supreme Court.