Murdoch Gets His Feet Wet In Bringing Hot News Lawsuit Against Briefing.com
from the and-here-we-go dept
Well, you had to know this was going to happen. In the last year, there had been an awful lot of talk about a previously considered obsolete concept of "hot news" -- which created a copyright-like protection for factual information, without any statutory basis. It's a very troubling concept that shouldn't have any real basis in the law, but does exist due to a nearly century old Supreme Court case. Lots of news publishers have started making noises about "hot news," and in March we had the first ruling that blocked a publication from reposting factual information under a "hot news" claim. Once that ruling was made, you had to know that more lawsuits would follow pretty quickly.
Basically, the complaint is similar to TheFlyOnTheWall complaint from last month that successfully claimed "hot news." Dow Jones claims it puts out info over its wire service, and minutes later Briefing.com seems to put out similar news, often using the same headline. Of course for the most part, headlines are not copyrightable, but are they covered by hot news? We may find out soon enough. The whole thing is silly of course. If Dow Jones can't compete against some company copying its headlines and summarizing its stories, it must not be adding very much value. Suing over this is basically an admission of that very fact.
Either way, my guess is that this particular lawsuit has little to do with Briefing.com -- or even Dow Jones and its newswires. This is Murdoch testing the waters on hot news. Of course, he may come to seriously regret doing so, given how many of his own sites probably violate the same hot news concept.