PRCA and Meltwater battle v NLA saves industry millions

The letter to PRWeek dated 15 March 2012 (below) is an update to the press realease dated 14 February 2012 announcing the outcome of the PRCA and Meltwater Group's battle against the NLA (further below).

The letter clarifies how Meltwater calculated that the PRCA and Meltwater Group's challenge to the NLA licence has saved the industry £100 million over three years.


Letter to PRWeek, 8 March 2012, from PRCA and Meltwater in response to David Pugh's letter to PRWeek dates 2 March 2012.

Re: Calculating £100m savings from NLA web licences thanks to Meltwater Group & PRCA

In response to David Pugh’s letter “Newspaper Licensing Agency web licences have been upheld” (Letters, 2 March 2012), the PRCA and Meltwater Group have published below how Meltwater calculated savings of £100m over three years. Revenues from the proposed new licences bore no resemblance to the current monitoring market even before including the NLA’s mandate to license business users of Google Alerts. With WEUL licences in the NLA’s proposed structure costing up to £400,000 each it is not hard to see either how the total saving over three years could total £100m or why the Tribunal slashed NLA’s proposed fee structure.

Signed: Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive and Jens-Petter Glittenberg, Co-founder, Meltwater Group.


Methodology for the estimated £100m saving to the industry as a result of the PRCA-Meltwater Group win v NLA Ltd in the Copyright Tribunal referenced in the press release of 14 February 2012 below

Following the Copyright Tribunal ruling on 14 February 2012 the PRCA and Meltwater Group issued a statement that changes to the web end user licence fee proposed by the Copyright Tribunal will save UK businesses and public sector organisations an estimated £100million over the next three years. The NLA Ltd has asked how Meltwater calculated this figure. The PRCA and Meltwater are delighted to share the calculations.

Meltwater calculated savings for its clients over the next 3 years – the methodology is below.

  • Meltwater randomly selected 10% of their Meltwater News UK client base (210 clients) of which half already had an NLA license (i.e. for photocopying news articles) and half did not have any prior agreement with the NLA.
  • They calculated the costs of the licences for each of these clients in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as per the NLA’s originally proposed fee structure using the fixed licence fee, which is the relevant one for their UK clients, with the ad hoc search fee on top (as all their clients require it).
  • The resulting number was then used as an average for Meltwater’s full UK client base (2,100) – a saving of about £24 million owing to the Copryright Tribunal’s drastic reductions in the price increases that the NLA planned to impose after 2011.

Savings for the industry as a whole over the next 3 years – how Meltwater worked it out

  • Meltwater understand that their share of the total UK online media monitoring market is approximately 25%
  • Extrapolated this therefore means savings of around £100 million for UK businesses

Google News

  • It became clear during the Copyright Tribunal proceedings that the NLA is now mandated to license business users of Google News and Google Alerts who forward search results. This was not clear in previous courts of law.
  • Paragraph 96 of the Copyright Tribunal judgment clearly states this intention:

96. Before the High Court the NLA had stated that it had no mandate to licence users of Google News. However it emerged before us that the NLA has been mandated to licence systematic use of Google News / Google Alerts by commercial end users. Although it has not yet done so, the NLA intends to seek to require licences from commercial end users of Google Alerts who forward on the emails received within their businesses. Meltwater pointed out that this act of forwarding is additional to the core act of receiving the Google Alert service (or performing an ad hoc search). On any view this illustrates the significance of the Google News / Google Alerts service.

  • The figure of £100m over three years excludes licence fee revenues from Google News customers.


Press release of 14 February 2012

PRCA and Meltwater battle v NLA saves industry millions



London, 14 February - The Copyright Tribunal today slashed the licence fee increases the NLA had proposed for the web end user licence by up to 90% following legal proceedings brought by the PRCA and Meltwater Group. The changes to the web end user licence fee will save UK businesses and public sector organisations millions of pounds over the next three years.

During the legal proceedings, which saw the Copyright Tribunal uphold seven of the nine changes the PRCA & Meltwater had requested to the licence, the NLA also revealed that it will require anyone who uses Google News / Google Alerts for work to take a licence.

Meltwater has estimated the savings to the industry to be at least £100 million over the next three years.

Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive said "Both Meltwater and the PRCA have invested huge resources ensuring the PR industry and other Internet users are not subject to unreasonable costs. The savings we have achieved for the industry highlight how important it was that we stood up to this scheme when others just accepted it. This is a huge win for Meltwater, the PRCA and its members. We have won the battle. We must now continue to fight to protect the broader principles of the Internet.

"The mandate the NLA has been given is against the ethos of the Internet and sets UK Copyright Law in a head on collision course with every day Internet users. We share their concern and will now step up our campaign to make UK copyright law fit for a digital age."

"The ability to browse the Internet without fear of infringing copyright has always been a fundamental Internet principle. Society is not served by these rulings in the UK and it seems that this interpretation of the law fundamentally clashes with how millions of people use the Internet every day," says Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater. "Meltwater is a strong believer in copyright and a strong supporter of a sustainable, independent press. However, the UK needs a copyright law that allow its citizens to use the Internet without fear of unintentional infringement."



Notes to editors

Background to the PRCA’s and Meltwater Group’s fight against the Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd’s (NLA) proposed licencing scheme for Media Monitoring Organisations (MMOs) and the clients of those MMOs is available here.

The full judgment of the Copyright Tribunal can be found here: Copyright Tribunal Ruling

For media enquires please contact:

Richard Ellis, PRCA Communciations Director
T: 020 7233 6026 ¦ M: 07779 102 758 ¦ E:


About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 250 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent over 70 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.

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