Archive for July, 2014

Screen and cache copies are not an infringement of copyright

A recent Court of Justice of the European Union decision confirms that browsing websites does not infringe copyright:

Newspaper Licencing Agency Ltd and others v Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd [2014]

Article 5 of Parliament and Council Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 established that website copies on an end-user’s computer screen and in the Internet ‘cache’ of the computer’s hard disk could be made without the copyright holders’ authorisation while the end-user is browsing the internet. The copies in question were held to be “temporary”, “transient or incidental” in nature and an “integral and essential part of a technological process”.

The Public Relations Consultants Association (“PRCA”) use a third party called Meltwater to monitor reports on press articles published online.  The reports are compiled using key words inputted by the PRCA.  Meltwater wanted their customers’ acts of reproduction to be exempted from the Article 2 reproduction right.

The Newspaper Licensing Agency collectively licences newspaper content and wanted Meltwater and its customers to obtain authorisation from copyright holders for providing and receiving the media monitoring service.

The PRCA appealed to the Supreme Court in the UK, who referred certain questions to the Court Of Justice of the European Union in Brussels (the “CJEU”). The CJEU interpreted Article 5(1) as well as Article 5(5) of the Directive to decide whether the conditions were satisfied.

Following the precedent set in Football Association Premier League Ltd v QC Leisure (which established that the conditions of Article 5(1) and Article 5(5) need to be satisfied), the CJEU held that this was a special case since the on-screen and cached copies were only for viewing websites. These copies were held not to conflict with a normal exploitation of the works and did not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the properly safeguarded rights holders.

Bankole Kasumu, Intern, New Media Law LLP

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