NLA v Meltwater: court makes a reference to the CJEU on the issue of temporary copies

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The UK Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the case of Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd (PRCA) and the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) & Others. While expressing the view that merely viewing copyright material online (as opposed to downloading or printing that material) does not amount to copyright infringement, it has nevertheless made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for clarification of its understanding of European law, given that the judgment will have important implications for many millions of people across the EU.

Meltwater operates an online monitoring and search service, enabling its customers to have easy access to relevant news stories. Currently, the service is made available to its end users by email. The Supreme Court was asked to consider whether, if the same service was made available to view online, and merely viewed by end users, there would still be an infringement of copyright.

PRCA (a trade body of which Meltwater is a member) argued that end users could rely upon the defence available under section 28A of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act, which was introduced to give effect to Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2011 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society…

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