"Hot News" doctrine gets a body-blow

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13 Responses to “"Hot News" doctrine gets a body-blow”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The “Tough Noogies” doctrine needs to be referenced more often in legal decisions, I think. Maybe if someone nominates Doctorow for SCOTUS?

  2. akwhitacre says:

    It’s worth mentioning the Citizen Media Law Project’s take on the decision: that it was correct but extremely narrow, offering no guidance on 1st amendment questions and implying that hot news is in effect copyrightable *if* the secondary source reports the news as its own rather than “reporting on” the news.

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2011/second-circuit-rules-hot-news-claims-preempted

  3. Cowicide says:

    I honestly don’t know what draconian state the USA would be in right now if it wasn’t for the efforts of the EFF.

    Today’s a good day to give them another donation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe I’m taking the bankster’s side, but I am in this case. Why is that? Because FlyOnTheWall.com is a subscription-only service. They are not simply reporting investment advice, they are directly profiting from that advice. Some quotes from their web site:

    “Theflyonthewall.com can turn you into… an informed investor!”
    “TheFly has been serving professional and individual investors worldwide for more than 12 years.”
    “flyonthewall.com has become the source of information for buy and sell side equity professionals.”

    Fly is not a news service, it is an investment service. It would be like Merrill Lynch taking the work of Morgan Stanley and passing that off as its own. If they were to offer their news service for free and further develop additional paid offerings, I could support them. But they don’t, so I don’t. And, the fact that Google and Twitter support them is not surprising. Google made its entire fortune off of the backs of others.

    • roboton says:

      Investment news that helps investors make informed decisions is not an investment service.

      That’s saying that all trade rags are not news services. It’s a ridiculous premise that makes no sense at all, and is not even arguable.

  5. oheso says:

    The bemusing thing to me is that anyone considers that this lot’s “stock tips are newsworthy”.

  6. Lagged2Death says:

    Is the “hot news” doctrine also what’s used to prevent the free distribution of up-to-the-minute sports scores?

    Because although I’m not a sports fan, prohibitions on sharing that information have always offended me. I’d cheer to see that arrangement weakened as well.

    • WhyBother says:

      No, sports scores are kept under wraps mostly because the sporting associations involved negotiate with the news agencies. “We won’t let you into the game, and you won’t be able to report on it at all, unless you agree to a delay in publishing/transmitting scores so that people who may see those scores actually have some incentive to actually watch the game.”

      The hot news doctrine states that facts may be treated somewhat like trade secrets, and not so much copyright. On the one hand, facts are facts, and no on owns a fact. Which is what the judge said in this case. This was an example of a lawyer trying to be clever by stretching a law into a region where it doesn’t belong, and they failed.

      On the other hand, society benefits from news reporting, and news-as-a-business demands certain laws to guarantee fair play. The hot news doctrine essentially says, “it’s not fair for a news agency A to read about a fact in news agency B’s paper, then publish those facts without consideration (credit and maybe payment) to news agency B.” All agencies either have to do their own dirty work (hire reporters), or pay the people who did the work (subscribe to news agencies, pay for distribution rights to another’s story). They cannot just rely on their competitors to manufacture a listing of facts for them to poach before the next morning edition.

  7. Wickedashtray says:

    Thank God for common sense.

  8. WA says:

    Lagged2Death: I’m reasonably certain it isn’t. The Hot News doctrine was essentially meant to keep newspapers from firing all their reporters, getting news reports from reporters at another newspaper (through potentially dubious means), and then quickly writing articles and publishing first. It must be noted, however, that the legitimate newspaper could make such a strategy very difficult by increasing security.

    Personally, I agree that it doesn’t apply in this case: the banks are releasing recommendations, and FlyOnTheWall was reporting them; that’s not a free ride, that’s just reporting in the same way many news agencies do. If, on the other hand, FlyOnTheWall were obtaining reports before they were published, and publishing the recommendations before the banks did, I would think the situation would be different.

    In general, I have to disagree with the EFF: the Hot News doctrine, to me, would seem primarily to only prevent people from talking about news of the day if they’re making a business model of getting that news from reporters before they have a chance to report. It would be like a scientist who used their funding in order to run their lab preparing a paper on research findings, and having someone who used their funding to hire people to sit around in the other lab’s printer room grab a copy of a draft paper, write up the findings as their own, and then publish it as their own research. It isn’t a copyright violation, but it’s dubious as to whether it should be allowed.

    • Anonymous says:

      “It would be like a scientist who used their funding in order to run their lab preparing a paper on research findings, and having someone who used their funding to hire people to sit around in the other lab’s printer room grab a copy of a draft paper, write up the findings as their own, and then publish it as their own research. It isn’t a copyright violation, but it’s dubious as to whether it should be allowed.”

      That *is* copyright infringement. It’s also plagiarism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Subscription-only … you mean like a newspaper? They’re a for-profit media company just like the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, etc.

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