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PRCA Vs NLA: Copy that Meltwater

Posted by Andrew Shephard on 19th April 2013

I’m not really sure where this week’s Supreme Court ruling on copyright leaves us. However, the language certainly aligns the very niche activity of media monitoring by in-house PR teams or agencies for clients, to the broader issues of sharing content freely available on the internet, so I sense we’re moving in the right direction.

There are differing views on the ruling and I was struck by the rather luke-warm reception by PR Week, countered by Ardi Kolah on Brand Republic.

Obviously we’re in the PR business, and mostly because of the NLA v Meltwater action, we’ve put quite a bit of effort into minimising the risks of copyright infringement for ourselves and clients in recent years.

In our role it helps to be able to share the results of media relations activities, but if you are not very careful the cost of legally sharing coverage becomes unsustainable, particularly if the client has limited funds, and that’s a great shame.

It’s not unreasonable for clients to want to see the evidence of their contribution to the online news flow, so we’ve looked at presenting results in ways that avoid reproducing individual stories at all – yes using Meltwater’s tools in some cases – and it’s proved very useful. Trends, coverage levels versus competitors or industry terms or coverage levels inside a core list of specific media – weekly snapshots – regional breakdowns. Consequentially, the end of the month thud-factor cuttings report is consigned to history and that’s good news.

With this ruling for online content, the temporary cache stored and then shared is almost certain to be copyright exempt in Europe ‘eventually’ so this means we’ll soon be able to embellish what has become an interesting new way of measuring media coverage to even greater effect.  I really hope the European Court of Justice agrees and we can get on with helping the news flow rather than burning budget managing the results of our client’s activities to keep clear of the publisher’s bad books.

photo credit: Horia Varlan via cc

Andrew Shephard

Andrew’s engineering background and ‘fluff-free’ attitude combined with probably the broadest knowledge of technology installed in one PR brain ensures critical insight for Wildfire’s clients. He has driven campaigns for major forces in the semiconductor industry over 18 years including NEC Electronics, Sun Microelectronics and TSMC along with game-changing start-ups like Achronix and Nujira.