Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Copyright in news?

Intriguing news in the FT that Associated Press are exercised about the use of their members' news reports online, without authorisation. All sorts of interesting points arise, including the possiblity of charging consolidator sites for their use of AP reports.

“We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories. We are mad as hell, and we are not going to take it any more,” Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP and chief executive of Media News told the AP annual meeting in San Diego, the FT reported. I wonder, are those midguided legal theories the ones expounded by the Supreme Court of the United States as recently as 1918, in International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215?

That case was about the defendant using facts gleaned from AP's reports from Europe on the progress of the First World War rather than about the reproduction of the stories themselves, and is therefore rather different from the present situation (I think). It's authority - near-universal authority, in fact - for the proposition that there is no copyright in news. Changes in technology might marginalise the 91 year old case. But the irony of AP trashing one of the most important cases in US copyright law is delicious: of course, it was AP who won it.
Here is some more information on the case from the Citizen Media Law Project.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online