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back to article UK Supreme Court backs news leech in copyright fight

The UK's Supreme Court has sided with a technology company and a public relations industry group in a long-running copyright case - but bounced it up to Europe for ultimate clarification. The decision (PDF) by the court offers a temporary respite for the Meltwater Group, a parasitic news scraper-cum-headline aggregator, after a …

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Of course the web browser needs to cache the page it receives in one form or another. Otherwise every time you scrolled the page or had to repaint part of the window it would have to go fetch the webpage again.

Whether this cache is on disk or in memory, whether it is the html or a rendered view is a separate question, but either way it is storing a copy in memory (independently to the copy the graphics card is holding to display on screen).

Note the Judge says "correct and efficient" - efficient being the key word as to why the cache is needed.

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Facepalm

Great headline that:

"the simple act of browsing the Internet could be copyright infringement"

Neatly lumping average web surfers in with parasitic content scrapers who only glom on to original content and never produce anything original themselves. Worry is that some befuddled old judge (what is this interweb of which you speak) will accept that sophistry and pass a judgement in favour of the parasites.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great headline that:

The problem is that the precedent set by Court of Appeals' ruling *did* leave that open to precisely that interpretation, i.e. that anyone who read material licensed by NLA to others without paying a fee would be in breach of legislation.

You could argue that common sense would preclude this, but considering that this is business we're talking about, they want it spelled out in black and white what they can and cannot do (lawyers, ya gotta love 'em). All the Supreme Court ruling does is spell it out again - That your average user browsing to a news website does not commit copyright infringement as per NLA definition and hence does not need to pay the NLA a fee.

Ultimately what this faff was about was that Meltwater scraped the sites and charged its clients (who are all NLA-licenced anyway) a fee for the convenience of not having to do it themselves. NLA however claims that Meltwater should be paying NLA fees too, effectively giving NLA *two* payments (one from Meltwater, one from the client via their own NLA licence) for the same content.

PRCA and Meltwater then said that if a scraper like Meltwater was required to pay NLA a fee for access to NLA's (which includes all media organisations in this country) members sites, although it is effectively just a collation service, it would leave your common man on the street also open to NLA prosecution if they happened to browse a site that shows headlines of other websites (Google News and several other newspaper and news sites who link to other news sites and their headlines).

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Big Brother

Re: Great headline that:

Neatly lumping average web surfers in with parasitic content scrapers"

AIUI from the article and IANAL, Meltwater simply aggregate headlines with links to the relevant published sites. I'd have thought that this would be driving more customers to these sites rather than costing those sites money which must be recovered in licence fees.

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Silver badge

ORLY

" indispensable to the correct and efficient operation"

Why do you think every browser in existence has a cache?

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Anonymous Coward

Seems a little sarcastic

I don't see anything wrong with the statement you ORLY about.

It does say

"...in the internet cache or on screen..."

It would, I think you must admit, to hard browse the internet without making a copy of the digital bits you get from the website somehow, be that in the system memory, screen or hard disk cache.

I guess you could pass that onto a third party with one of those "render and send me the page image" type browsers that use an intermediary server.

There is a discussion here to be made about the final output of the format processing vs the arrangements of bits that make up that format.

A PDF document doesn't "look" much like what actually appears on your screen, do you have copyright on both the bitwise copy of your document as well as the rendered version (which logically would be a derivative work as it depends on the renderers interpretation of the format)

The whole body of english and international law is unprepared for the digital age.

Almost all charges involving digital data include ones about publishing or creating the content in question, even if you were effectively just a receiver or viewer , based on the argument that you are making a new copy. This seems to be quite ludicrous on the face of it, the law seems to be too bogged down in the details.

The recent ruling about sending a one-to-one text message being "publishing" and subject to laws such as the obscene publications act etc. was just one of many ridiculous rulings of this nature.

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Re: Seems a little sarcastic

"I guess you could pass that onto a third party with one of those "render and send me the page image" type browsers that use an intermediary server."

Which worst case would be an unauthorized derivative work...

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Anonymous Coward

Re. seems a little sarcastic

Maybe the same legislation can be applied to make documents related to terrorism available online "derivative works" and liable to be filtered legally by any ISP.

If you ask me its high time that ISPs got off their high horse and started filtering out such material, for the safety of the public.

Suggest creating a new agency, the Internet Oversight Committee, with the power to down sites and confiscate their servers from anywhere in the world for a single infringement without notice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re. seems a little sarcastic

OK, it's not a bad first try, but for effective trolling you need to put a bit more aggression, a bit more emotion in it.

Next time, add some invective, use a lot of exclamation marks and make sure Caps Lock is enabled.

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Anonymous Coward

RLY

Just to correct the first guy and Andrew. Really. A local cache is required, without it, the browser simply WILL NOT display the content. EVEN if it were 'streamed' byte by byte to your computing device as the entire SEQUENCE is needed to make sense of the page and to display it's content, so at one point or another you do need the complete sequence of these headlines and text.

The only way where this isn't the case is if the actual screen is streamed from another terminal that is interpreting the data, but the web (thankfully) will never work that way unless if it was to do so to get pass the law on copywrite by claiming it interpreted the data through data streams that renders a 'moving picture' and an OCR.

We haven't even mentioned about these data going through all the machines that makes up the internet at large yet, proxies will be another 'infringing' device for sure even if routers manage to forward you a packet that doesn't consist of a complete headline.

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Bronze badge

Re: RLY

Send a fine to the routers for duplicating the bits?

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Anonymous Coward

A case of thieving newspapers?

Seems from the writeup that they are trying to claim a licence fee is required for scraping and storing a headline. IMHO that's ridiculous; the value and copyright is in the article, not the headline - which is generally so short that content is driven by the facts and the english language. Its a marker, an index.

Seems like the newspapers are desperately trying to fend off the inevitable with bottom feeding lawyers rather than sustainable business models.

Better to have the NPL lot in court for the attempted shakedown.

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Anonymous Coward

Remove the links, charge the newspapers

The solution is simple, remove all the links to the newspaper headlines, including those from the search engines. The newspapers will have no option to buy advertising, since no-one will link to them.

The newspapers could also stop other websites leeching their content, and one wonders why they don't. A simple htaccess directive would prevent it.

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FAIL

The UK's Supreme Court...bounced it up to Europe

So, not really a "supreme" court then, eh? Seem a bit like just another layer of appeals for the lawyers tomake even more money. Who's bright idea was this anyway? Oh....

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Bronze badge

Re: The UK's Supreme Court...bounced it up to Europe

I don't think the supremem court is supposed to put "I'unno, ask that guy" in their decisions.

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