London, 17th April – The Supreme Court has today agreed with the PRCA that internet users have the right to browse online without infringing copyright law.
The Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK, accepted all of the PRCA’s arguments against the NLA that browsing and viewing articles online does not require authorisation from the rights-holder. It has now referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) so that this point can be clarified across the EU.
The Supreme Court states that accepting the NLA’s position would be “an unacceptable result, which would make infringers of many millions of ordinary users of the internet across the EU who use browsers and search engines for private as well as commercial purposes.”
The Supreme Court further rejected the NLA’s argument that rights-holders would be exposed to piracy as a consequence as right holders have effective remedies against those who are more obviously at fault.
Francis Ingham, PRCA Director General, said: “We are delighted that the UK Supreme Court has accepted all of our arguments, which we look forward to making again at the CJEU. The Supreme Court understood that this does not just affect the PR world, but the fundamental rights of all EU citizens to browse the internet.”
Jorn Lyssegen, CEO of Meltwater said: “We are very pleased that the Supreme Court overruled the previous rulings of the Court of Appeals and The High Court that the simple act of browsing the Internet could be copyright infringement.
“This ruling is an important step in modernizing the interpretation of UK copyright law and protects UK Internet users from overreaching copyright collectors.”
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Notes to editors
The Supreme Court ruling can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2011_0202_Judgment.pdf
The PRCA contested at the Supreme Court in February the Court of Appeal’s decision (link) that that the temporary copies made through the purely technological process of displaying a web page on a computer to enable a user to read that web page is a violation of UK copyright law if made without the explicit consent of the copyright owner.
The PRCA and Meltwater have already reduced the cost of license fees at the Copyright Tribunal, saving an estimated £100m for the PR industry
The CJEU ruling is expected at some point in 2014
PRCA Policy and Research Manager
+44 7233 6026