Google And Twitter Tell Appeals Court That 'Hot News' Doctrine Is Obsolete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 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    so... if i missed a baseball game and somebody who was there told me the score... i suppose i should be required to wait before i'm able to tell anybody else the score. you're reasoning makes perfect sense. screw freedom of speech. and don't say that isn't news. cause then that implies 'news' has some sort of definition. and if it does have boundaries, who decides what is considered news? who decides who is considered a reporter? probably big news conglomerates who have been known to repeatedly break this 'hot news' doctrine with regards to bloggers.

    so yes, google wants to make sure that a stupid rule isn't put in place that will have a huge detrimental effect on the internet.

    its a douche move to assume there should be any limitations on freedom of speech, especially with respect to reporting extremely important news that could, in extreme circumstances, go so far as being life or death.

    douche move, poster.

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