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.