Google And Twitter Tell Appeals Court That 'Hot News' Doctrine Is Obsolete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

Filed Under: copyright, facts, first amendment, hot news, reporting
Companies: barclays, google,, twitter

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  1. identicon
    dude, 22 Jun 2010 @ 6:25am

    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.

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