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Meltwater and the PRCA welcome today's decision, adding that the issue of temporary copies 'has far wider ramifications than the Court of Appeal intended'

The Supreme Court has granted permission to news aggregator Meltwater to appeal a ruling by the Court of Appeal on the use of online newspaper content and the scope of a "temporary copies" exception.

Discussing the issue of temporary copies within copyright law in his ruling in July,
chancellor of the high court Sir Andrew Morritt stated that "S.28A does not provide even a limited defence to the claims of infringement to which the business of Meltwater is likely to give rise".

The judgment also found that end users of Meltwater's service would also require a licence from the Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA) or the relevant publisher, to avoid infringing copyright.

Responding to the Court of Appeal ruling at the time, Francis Ingham - chief executive of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA)
, which joined Meltwater in support - claimed this would mean "potentially making millions of normal people infringers of copyright by saying that copyright exists once you click onto that link of the site.

"That's what we're seeking leave to refer to the Supreme Court because we think it's a fundamental issue that goes much further than the PR industry or newspaper industry".

This permission has now been granted. Any hearing resulting from a lodged appeal would be likely to take place late next year.

Today both Meltwater and the PRCA said they welcomed the decision to be given leave to appeal, adding that they feel the issue of temporary copies "has far wider ramifications than the Court of Appeal intended".

In a statement David Pugh, managing director of the NLA argued that the case "does not affect ordinary people using websites".

"The temporary copying exception was designed to facilitate ISPs and telecoms companies in making the internet function," he said.

"Meltwater attempted to argue in the High Court and Court of Appeal that it could be used to exempt users of paid-for monitoring services from paying copyright fees – an approach which was soundly rejected by both courts."

Both sides are currently awaiting the ruling of the Copyright Tribunal, which heard the dispute in September.

The NLA, which is owned by the UK's eight national newspaper groups, introduced a scheme in September 2009 which licenses media monitoring organisations such as Meltwater, and the use of its members' websites with the granting of a web database license.

It also announced a further scheme in January last year, for licensing the use of its members' websites by end users of media monitoring services, such as public relations consultants, through a web end user licence.

Meltwater originally referred the NLA licence to the UK copyright tribunal in 2009 and it was NLA which took Meltwater and the PRCA to the High Court in 2010, winning a judgement that web links for online news were protected by copyright law.

In the court of appeal in July chancellor of the high court Sir Andrew Morritt said he agreed with the high court ruling that end users of Meltwater's service would also require a licence.

Meltwater has already said it will sign up for its own licence, but disagrees that its clients require one.

According to the NLA the Tribunal's ruling is expected early next year.

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