Whether meta-sites like TotalNEWS "recast" original works depends on the manner in which "work" is defined. Consider, for example, two computers with monitors A and B. Both machines are running identical browser programs. The browser on Monitor A is displaying the Cable News Network ("CNN") home page and Monitor B is displaying the TotalNEWS site with the CNN page in its browsing window. The two displays reveal two significantly different appearances. The CNN page fills Monitor A’s entire browser display and has the words "cnn.com" in the "Location Window."151 The same page occupies a slightly smaller window on Monitor B and is bordered by two other narrow Web pages (the TotalNEWS ad and navigational frames), and displays a different URL ("www.totalnews.com"). If the "work" is what appears on the screen, then one could conclude that the original CNN display has been transformed by making it a component of a new creation and TotalNEWS has violated CNN’s copyright.Link Discuss (Thanks, Stan!)
The objection to this "what you see is what you copyright" approach to meta-sites is that the authorship of the target page has not in fact been altered. Monitor B’s browser is displaying three works, not one. The screen is neatly trifurcated to allow viewing of multiple Web pages, each of which can be properly thought of as containing an "original work of authorship." Two of the pages are created by TotalNEWS, and the third and largest by CNN. Despite the interactivity of the navigational and browsing frames, there is no suggestion that they form one document. Two of the frames are stationary, while the third can be substituted at will, and all three are physically divided by the borders of the frames.152
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.