Hot News Showing Up Everywhere: Costco Sued For 'Violating' Hot News In Publishing Market Data
from the oh-come-on dept
It seems like every few days or so we’re seeing lawsuits attempting to stretch the hot news doctrine further and further. News organizations who support hot news as a concept really have no idea what sort of can of worms they’ve opened up. Since the infamous (and ongoing) theflyonthewall case, we’re seeing hot news pop up in all sorts of weird places. The latest, as sent over by Eric Goldman, is that Costco is being sued by “Banxcorp” for hot news violations (along with copyright violations and a bunch of other things) for republishing Banxcorp’s data showing national average money market and CD rates.
But, of course, such data is factual information, right? And, indeed, the judge seems to realize this quickly and, for the most part does not buy the copyright claim. However, the judge leaves a little wiggle room, and refuses to dismiss the copyright claims in response to Costco’s motion to dismiss. He does note that the data is not copyrightable, and the final values are not copyrightable, but suggests that maybe, sorta, possibly Banxcorp could convince the court that the methodology it uses in converting the raw data into final values could have enough creativity to be covered by copyright. But, he still sounds skeptical. So now everyone has to waste time filing motions for summary judgment, and we’ll have to see how far this goes.
But, of course, Banxcorp doesn’t just rely on copyright. Now that “hot news” is back with a vengeance, more and more organizations are realizing they can effectively claim copyright on some facts by hiding it under a hot news claim. Costco tried to get this dismissed by arguing (1) that the hot news claims are pre-empted by the copyright claims and (2) that there was no real hot news claim. Once again the court refuses to dismiss this, suggesting that Banxcorp has properly hit on all the prongs needed to file a hot news claim, though it notes that these can and probably will be “revisited” during motions for summary judgment. So the hot news claim lives on to another day. Watch out folks. Repeating a reported average financial rate may put you in hot water for hot news. How long until this comes back to bite a newspaper who is in favor of hot news?