The following statment was issued to all members earlier this morning:
We understand that the NLA has asked a number of PRCA members to provide witness statements for use by the NLA in its High Court proceedings against the PRCA.
As you know from previous alerts, Meltwater News referred the NLA's Web Database Licence (WDL) and the Web End User Licence (WEUL) -i.e. the one PRCA members are asked to sign by the NLA- to the UK's Copyright Tribunal in December 2009. Amongst other things, Meltwater is arguing that end users should not need to pay the NLA for receiving and clicking on links sent as part of an online news monitoring service. The PRCA intervened in January 2010 in support of Meltwater's case on this point.
In May 2010, the NLA decided to sue both Meltwater and the PRCA (as a representative of its members) for copyright infringement. Amongst other things, the NLA is seeking a declaration that the PRCA's members require (as a matter of law) a licence from the NLA to receive the Meltwater News service. This issue is going to trial before the High Court in November. It is in respect of this issue that the NLA is seeking evidence from PRCA members. That evidence will be used by the NLA to support its case that it is perfectly reasonable for the NLA to charge PRCA members for receiving and clicking on links.
As the PRCA is a defendant in these proceedings, we cannot and do not comment on whether or not you should provide any such evidence to the NLA. However, we do advise that you seek independent legal advice on the implications for you of providing evidence for the NLA before providing any evidence. In relation to any evidence given to support the NLA, the PRCA may ask witnesses to attend Court to answer questions about their evidence.