Moreover May Sue Newspaper Biz Over Online Copying Levy

Online news aggregator Moreover is considering taking legal action against the Newspaper Licensing Agency in response to plans to impose a levy on re-distribution of online newspaper articles. paidContent:UK understands more commercial aggregators may also explore action against what they see as a direct attempt to compromise their business model.

The NLA, which polices unauthorised use of content for thousands of local and national newspapers, wants to impose charges on “web-scraping” services which copy sites’ entire content and redistribute it via tailor-made datafeeds to paying customers. From September, aggregators will require the NLA’s standard licence to continue and the agency will start charging services without one in January.

NLA digital MD commercial director Andrew Hughes told me Friday: “This is not about having a go at bloggers: it’s about large, commercial operations which are scraping the entire content of tens of thousands of websites and creating paid-for services from them.” He named Meltwater, which offers clients a searchable database of 90,000 online news sources in more than 110 countries, and Moreover as offenders in the “content scraping” sector. We understand Moreover is mounting “a large response” in the coming months.

It’s not the first time Moreover publishing model has come under fire: in October 2007 AP sued the company for publishing excerpts of news reports “without permission and infringing on the news organization