Credit: By Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A service which monitors online news says it is "considering all of our options" after a US court ruled against it in a copyright case brought by the Associated Press.

The Meltwater News service searches online news and returns results to its clients based on keywords in the form of an excerpt and link.

The Associated Press announced in February that it would be pursuing a case against Meltwater News, accusing the company of "copyright infringement".

At the time AP argued the actions of Meltwater News "competes directly with AP and its customers".

In a statement issued late yesterday AP said "the court granted AP's motion for summary judgment in the suit, denying Meltwater's".

The judge concluded in the ruling that AP's "motion for summary judgment is granted, with one exception".

This exception is understood to relate to a request by AP for "injunctive relief", including "an order requiring Meltwater to 'delete from its database and all computers under defendents' control all copyrighted materials owned by AP and all AP news reports."

The ruling states that "the parties will be given an additional opportunity to address whether retrospective injunctive relief should be granted in this case".

In a statement Meltwater News said it was "disappointed" by the court's decision to dismiss its defence "that its presentation of those excerpts constitute a fair use of the AP articles to which it links".

It added that the Meltwater News service "displays short excerpts from materials that are made publicly available on the internet to help its customers locate information that they are looking for, linking users directly to the original versions of content on the web".

"Meltwater believes the ruling misapplies the fair use doctrine and is at odds with a variety of prior decisions that have paved the way for today's internet.

"Meltwater is especially troubled by the implications of this decision for other search engines and services that have long relied on the fair use principles for which Meltwater is fighting."

Chief executive Jorn Lyseggen added that they "strongly disagree" with the court ruling and are "considering all of our options".

"We look forward to having this decision reviewed by the Court of Appeals, which we are confident will see the case a different way."

In the AP statement president and chief executive Gary Pruitt said: "This ruling makes it crystal clear that Meltwater wrongly used news content from AP to create its own content, while paying none of the costs associated with creating original news content.

"This is an important ruling for AP and others in the news business who work so hard to provide high-quality original news reports on which the public relies."

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