Feeds

News leech loses appeal on High Court copyright case

Attention scrapers: Headlines are copyright

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Commercial news parasite Meltwater has lost an appeal in the High Court against the newspaper industry. The company provided a commercial headline-scraping service to clients in PR and marketing agencies. But a landmark judgment in the High Court last November decreed that it would require a licence, ruling that newspaper story headlines were effectively separate literary works.

The Public Relations Consultants Association, formed from Meltwater customers, took the ruling to the High Court. There they were pitched against all the UK's major newspaper groups except News International, alongside the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

The Court of Appeal upheld the original ruling yesterday [here]. Headline aggregators will now require a licence – the cost of which will range from £58 to £500 per year. The ruling applies only to commercial operations; it won't affect individuals.

In an interview, David Pugh of the NLA said publishers can now be sure of fair royalties, and rival monitoring services can benefit from "a level playing field".

Claims of "fair dealing" were rejected by Lords Jackson and Elias. They rejected the PRCA's broad interpretation of the exemption, which is permitted for criticism, as Meltwater made no attempt to interpret or criticise the articles it scraped.

The Court of Appeal ruling upheld the view that "... headlines involve considerable skill in devising and they are specifically designed to entice by informing the reader of the content of the article in an entertaining manner."

Some "vivid" examples were cited in court by James Bromley, MD of Mail Online. Although we'll wager they're not as distinctive as this one (check the subhead especially).

Or this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Steal our headlines, and you steal our souls. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.