Google And Twitter Tell Appeals Court That 'Hot News' Doctrine Is Obsolete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

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


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2010 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re:

    i feel like this is an egregious affront on freedom of speech. if you report on something that happened, i should be able to tell people it happened as well, without having to find some other source other than you. moreover, i could have other insight into the event and can tell others what i know and include what you said so it could have context.

    Moreover, everyone benefits from the efforts of others. That in and of itself isn't morally wrong. Also, Google never has insisted it wants to become a news reporter so you're accusation is somewhat odd. Its just worried about other various repercussions a ruling in favor of the doctrine could have. I mean, it really is a silly doctrine, especially in this day and age.

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