Feeds

News leech loses appeal on High Court copyright case

Attention scrapers: Headlines are copyright

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.