Judge Issues $5 Million Award To Dow Jones In Hot News Case… But It's Meaningless
from the hot-news? dept
In January, we wrote about Dow Jones suing Ransquawk, a UK-based service that sends out news alerts to clients. Dow Jones used the antiquated and obsolete concept of “hot news” misappropriation, since there was no actual copyright claim to be made. For years, we’ve discussed the problematic nature of the hot news doctrine, which some news companies just can’t let go of using. In May, we noted that Ransquawk basically ignored the legal process (though it had publicly commented on the lawsuit), leading to a default judgment against Ransquawk. That’s what happens when you don’t show up in court. This week, the judge officially awarded Dow Jones $5 million in the case, which is again fairly meaningless. In theory, Dow Jones can go after Ransquawk for the money, but it doesn’t appear that it has any US-based assets to attack.
While some who don’t follow the details and don’t understand the nature of a default judgment may make a bigger deal of this, the ruling is kind of meaningless since there was no actual adversarial process here. But, really, the bigger issue is that hot news is just a concept that needs to go away. In an age of social media sharing, retweeting, forwarding, reposting, etc., the idea that someone can claim some sort of exclusive ownership over “breaking” news is just silly and pointless. If your entire value is wrapped up in being a few minutes ahead of the competition, and you can’t stand someone repeating the news that you were still first in getting out, you’ve got other, much more serious problems with your business model.