Google And Twitter Tell Appeals Court That 'Hot News' Doctrine Is Obsolete

from the and-don't-repeat-that-without-paying-up dept

It looks like Google and Twitter have decided to weigh in on the closely watched lawsuit between TheFlyOnTheWall.com and Barclays, which has helped bring back the hot news doctrine, which creates an monopoly right on news reporting. This is quite worrisome for a whole variety of reasons, and as the appeals court considers the case, Google and Twitter have filed an amicus brief worrying about the implications of allowing the hot news doctrine to stand:

“News reporting always has been a complex ecosystem, where what is ‘news’ is often driven by certain influential news organizations, with others republishing or broadcasting those facts — all to the benefit of the public,” the companies said in the filing.

Google and Twitter argued that upholding the district court’s decision would give those who obtained the news first strong incentives to block others from obtaining the same information.

Hoping to show how silly the concept is, they argue:

“How, for example, would a court pick a time period during which facts about the recent Times Square bombing attempt would be non-reportable by others?”

While I do worry about courts when it comes to copyright cases, the “hot news” doctrine is so far out there that I’ll be surprised if the courts don’t put it to rest for good. It’s difficult to see how anyone can defend the hot news doctrine, and I’m hopeful that the courts will recognize that it has no place in the law.

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Companies: barclays, google, theflyonthewall.com, twitter

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Comments on “Google And Twitter Tell Appeals Court That 'Hot News' Doctrine Is Obsolete”

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22 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Let me see if I’m getting this correctly: the Hot News implies that you can only get one opinion (the first) on a given subject? So if a republican/democrat newspaper is the first to report the war on Iraq, no other media can report it and we only get the pro/con opinion on it? How does that make sense?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

no, the hot news doctrine says ‘go get the news yourself’. everyone can report on the news, but they cannot replicate stories from other sources. they cannot just republish or re-use the content of others for a period of time (seems to be one news cycle).

there is no exclusive right to facts, only exclusive rights to the work of your own reporters. what google wants is the ability to republish in seconds what gets added to a newspapers website, or gets printed in the newspaper. they dont want to hire reporters, they just want to benefit from the efforts of others.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

i feel like this is an egregious affront on freedom of speech. if you report on something that happened, i should be able to tell people it happened as well, without having to find some other source other than you. moreover, i could have other insight into the event and can tell others what i know and include what you said so it could have context.

Moreover, everyone benefits from the efforts of others. That in and of itself isn’t morally wrong. Also, Google never has insisted it wants to become a news reporter so you’re accusation is somewhat odd. Its just worried about other various repercussions a ruling in favor of the doctrine could have. I mean, it really is a silly doctrine, especially in this day and age.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

there is no exclusive right to facts, only exclusive rights to the work of your own reporters.
And how pray do you determine where factual information has been obtained from?

what google wants is the ability to republish in seconds what gets added to a newspapers website, or gets printed in the newspaper. they dont want to hire reporters, they just want to benefit from the efforts of others.

No they only want to report that “XXX is reporting that…”

which is if anything helpful to XXX.

The fact is that the newspapers are simply jealous of Google’s success – which they could have had themselves – if the y had been clever enough. It is simply sour grapes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

sorry, google doesnt do that. they dont rewrite it, they just organize it onto a pretty page, present it as their own news, and then link people off for the stories. google isnt creating content, they are living off other peoples content. if they actually had to hire people to re-write the news and make new headlines, they wouldnt be in the news business, they would let it drop. they profit from the work of others without compensation.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“sorry, google doesnt do that. they dont rewrite it, they just organize it onto a pretty page, present it as their own news, and then link people off for the stories. “

The republish the headline and a brief header – so you know what the story is about – then you need to go to the originator’s page to read the story itself.

They do no more than a newsagent does when he organises his display – with different types of magazines and newspapers in separate sections.

The technology enables them to do this in more detail than the newsagent can – but make no mistake – by organising the data they are adding a huge amount of value – and that is what they make their money from. They are NOT taking value from anyone else they are creating their own new value.

dude says:

It makes even less sense in a world when most major news happens in front of dozens of people. People blog/twitter/etc. news events all the time. When you apply the doctrine broadly, it’s completely unworkable.

If you apply it solely to independently/fully researched feature articles, then I could see some potential worth in the principle behind it but when applied to breaking news in general it doesn’t make sense.

out_of_the_blue says:

"recognize that it has no place in the law"

If you mean in the public interest, that’s not relevant even for a hope: this is a battle between competing corporations for commercial gain. Both sides of course claim their *private* interests as good for the public, but outcome will probably be determined by the interests of the *state* to keep a lid on what’s really happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

so… if i missed a baseball game and somebody who was there told me the score… i suppose i should be required to wait before i’m able to tell anybody else the score. you’re reasoning makes perfect sense. screw freedom of speech. and don’t say that isn’t news. cause then that implies ‘news’ has some sort of definition. and if it does have boundaries, who decides what is considered news? who decides who is considered a reporter? probably big news conglomerates who have been known to repeatedly break this ‘hot news’ doctrine with regards to bloggers.

so yes, google wants to make sure that a stupid rule isn’t put in place that will have a huge detrimental effect on the internet.

its a douche move to assume there should be any limitations on freedom of speech, especially with respect to reporting extremely important news that could, in extreme circumstances, go so far as being life or death.

douche move, poster.

Gareth says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sorry to disappont you but there are plenty of limits on free speech already. The scope of this case is being misrepresented here. No-one is trying to stop the spread of news. What they are trying to prevent is work being plagiarized almost as soon as it is published by others who have invested no time or effort in it. If those creating the news item don’t get any protection against copying, why would they bother investing time and money in making the news item? Simple answer: they won’t. Then everyone loses out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

” NL RCMP heading to Toronto for G8/G20 summit
CBC.ca – ‎37 minutes ago‎
RCMP officers from Newfoundland and Labrador will be helping law enforcement in Toronto beef up security for the G8/G20 summit. 104 officers from the province will assist in providing security this week while world leaders meet in Toronto. “

what part of this did google write? answer: none. i dont have to go read the rest of the story, they already gave me enough.

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