PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.
Do you use a ‘clippings’ service and then republish the clippings, or make use of material created by others on your website?
If so, make sure you have the appropriate permission to use the material.
A recent case dealt with an appeal against a decision that a business which provided clippings as part of a PR service to other businesses had breached copyright law because those making use of its service did not have permission to use the material. The service operated a ‘spider’, which looked for terms or groups of words specified by its clients. The system then provided the client with a newsletter containing the headline and the opening words of the article with a link to the relevant article. It did not reproduce in full the articles published by the claimants.
The claimants, members of a newspaper group, argued that the service provider was in breach of its ‘web database agreement’ (WDA) because it supplied the information to firms which themselves did not have a WDA or a ‘web end-user licence’.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the company’s activities did infringe the copyright of the claimants and accepted the judge’s initial ruling that a string of as few as 11 words could constitute an infringement of copyright.
This case has implications for any business which makes use of or enables others to make use of material which is the copyright of another.
For advice on your rights and responsibilities under the law of copyright, contact us.