According to paidContent yesterday:
"Public relations news monitor Meltwater has come out fighting - but not too hard - after ... it had been blocked from indexing News International’s Times Online.The blocking has been effected by updating Times Online's robots.txt file to block Meltwater, along with NewsNow, which was previously blocked.
It’s issued a 259-word statement in response that says… well, not much. The essential point: Meltwater is sticking to its guns and waiting for what it hopes will be an industry-standard ruling in its favour from the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, to which it took the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s (NLA) new online use license.
The sticking point: News International’s Times Online, here, is operating a similar principle to the NLA, of which it is a member - but it’s not operating the agency’s new licenses; it’s acting unilaterally…"...”
The Meltwater statement reads as follows:In brief, the Tribunal has upheld Meltwater's right to challenge Times Online's Web Database Licence/Web End User Licence set-up: Meltwater has the credentials to make its application and the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear it. The Tribunal has also set a timetable for hearing the dispute. The main diary dates are June 2009 (case management), October 2009 (pre-trial hearing) and 7 February 2011, where a hearing of between 5 and 7 days' duration is expected.
"Earlier this week, Times Online, published by News International, took the step of blocking Meltwater from indexing its website. We find this move both surprising and disappointing as Meltwater has sought a ruling by the UK Copyright Tribunal to provide clarity on current UK copyright law. Yet, despite the fact that the Tribunal is still months away from reaching a decision, News International has chosen not to wait for a judgment, but to pursue its own course of action unilaterally.
Meltwater acknowledges that there are different interpretations of the current UK copyright law today. However, we firmly believe that our services do not infringe upon anyone’s copyright because our services do not keep nor provide our clients with copyrighted content. To create clarity on this issue, Meltwater has brought the NLA’s (Newspaper Licensing Authority) proposed licensing scheme for online news to the UK copyright tribunal (Meltwater press release). Meltwater believes that the entire industry will benefit from a clear ruling on this complex issue, which is so important for all players in the online media industry. The Copyright Tribunal recently rejected the NLA’s claim that Meltwater was not entitled to have its case heard.
Times Online’s recent action is just the latest development in the ongoing copyright discussions in the UK market, a discussion that is far from over. Meltwater continues to serve the needs of its customers and we are reviewing all the options available to us – including the relevant technical and legal considerations – to ensure we continue serving our clients long into the future".
This one will run and run ...