The Associated Press can proceed with a copyright infringement lawsuit against an online news aggregation service after a federal judge ruled a century-old US Supreme Court ruling applies to the internet.
In a ruling, US District Judge Kevin Castel shot down arguments that the so-called hot news doctrine did not apply. The US Supreme Court established the principle in 1918 in another case brought by the AP. While facts generally can't be
copyrighted, companies can sue for misappropriation when their time-sensitive hot news is copied by others, the doctrine holds.
This week's ruling came in a case the AP filed last year against AHN, or All Headline News. In it, the AP claims that AHN copies AP stories and then posts them to its own website as part of a service it sells to customers. AHN employees remove
information that identifies AP as the source, the suit contends.
The AP's case is important because it could help define the rules of engagement for 21st Century news reporting, where journalists and bloggers increasingly borrow, recycle, and quote large sections of articles published by competitors, often
with little or no attribution.
Associated Press has announced an initiative to protect online versions of its news content from what it called misappropriation by a variety of online news outlets.
AP Chairman Dean Singleton said the news syndicate would pursue legal and legislative remedies against entities that it believes are unfairly borrowing its content.
At the heart of the AP's complaint are websites that provide editorial services to users by picking out and featuring the day's most important, interesting or sensational stories.
The Drudge Report, a news site with a conservative bent, is one of the Web's most successful aggregation sites; the Huffington Post provides a similar service for liberal-minded readers.
But it's Google News, the search giant's automated and constantly updating digital front page, whose relationship with the AP and its member newspapers is so complicated that distinguishing the harms from the benefits may be a matter of
From one viewpoint, Google News has been a boon to the imperilled newspaper industry, driving huge numbers of readers to the websites of the publications whose stories it features. Google also pays an undisclosed fee to the AP for the use of its
But just as a newspaper reader may casually glance at headlines without reading every story, readers of Google News may go to the site specifically to scan the news without clicking through to the originating site. Google News recently started
AP will now try to create a system for tracking the use of its content online. But no matter the implementation, attempts to police content on the Internet are both costly and leak-prone, especially for news articles, in which the underlying
facts are not subject to copyright.
In 1918, the Supreme Court created a hot news quasi-property right that still exists in some places today, and the Associated Press has been threatening to take on the blogosphere with it. Ars digs into the hot news historical
archive to explain why the idea has always been controversial.
What do bloggers and a 1918 newspaper syndicate have in common? According to the Associated Press, both are wretched hives of scum and villainy—parasites, if you will, sucking a healthy living from the AP's expensive newsgathering operations.
And the AP means to do something about it, reviving a legal doctrine it helped to create back during World War I: the concept of hot news. Here's what you need to know about facts and the quasi-property rights that news organizations can
exert over them... sometimes.
Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America's most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed
a ban on linking to online content without permission . The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying:
Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be
necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional,
nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.
Amidst whingeing by the Associated Press over bloggers using its stories, Europe's highest court has whittled the line of potential copyright infringement down to just 11 words.
The bar was set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a legal dispute between the Danish media monitoring firm Infopaq and the country's newspaper industry body, Danske Dagblades Forening (DDF).
Infopaq would scan various newspapers using image-to-text software then process the files to identify certain keywords its clients wanted tracked. If such a keyword was found in the story, that word along with five words on either side were
The company would then send its clients a report containing the captured snippets and information on where they were obtained.
Infopaq disputed a claim that the process requires consent from rightholders, but to no avail in the European Court.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has been pushing the boundaries of fair use to go after websites that lift as few as 33 words. It would appear the AP now has some precedent to attack so long as it can convince national courts its stories qualify
AP Propose DRM system for its syndicated news articles
The AP has come up with a new copyright protection system that will try to limit the evil bloggers and pirates from 'stealing' their content. It appears that the AP wants to become the RIAA of Internet news by policing who is using their
materials and stealing their precious content.
The AP wants to use a DRM (Digital Right Management) tool to stop bloggers and Google News from copy and pasting and linking to their articles, ensuring that no one will ever read them. The system works by trying to put all their content into a
digital container to stop Google and others from accessing their precious content.
The bigger point here seems to be, like the rest of the legacy media, the AP is attempting to perpetuate a system that is dying. They are desperately clinging to a business model that simply makes little sense any longer. If the AP were really
smart they would implement a completely different kind of monetizing system. Instead of charging bloggers $3.50 per word, charge fees related to the readership of the blog. Think of the thousands of blogs that would also fork over such minimal
amounts and how much the AP could make off micro-payments. This is a business model that would actually succeed. Instead, the AP will continue to cling to their old system of protecting their content.