LUXEMBOURG—The European Union Court of Justice has ruled in favour of PRCA and Meltwater in their long-running dispute with the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) over the copyright status of online media stories.

The CJEU has found that browsing and viewing articles online does not require authorisation from the copyright holder. The decision follows a five-year UK court battle, that culminated in the Supreme Court referring the case to the ECJ last year.

 “We are utterly delighted that the CJEU has accepted all of our arguments against the NLA, which represents eight national newspapers," said PRCA director-general Francis Ingham. "The Court of Justice, like the Supreme Court before them, understands that the NLA’s attempts to charge for reading online content do not just affect the PR world, but the fundamental rights of all EU citizens to browse the Internet. This is a huge step in the right direction for the courts as they seek ways to deal with the thorny issues of Internet use and copyright law."

The judgment means that Internet users are now protected by the temporary copy exception of EU copyright law when they read or browse content online. The NLA has long argued that it is only seeking to licence those who are making commercial use of the newspaper content, such as professional media monitoring agencies.