Newspapers To Court: We Don't Care About TheFlyOnTheWall, But Please Don't Take Away Our Hot News

from the they-will-regret-this dept

Yesterday we wrote about Google and Twitter's amicus brief in the infamous FlyOnTheWall hot news case, and the folks over at the Associated Press were kind enough to send over a link to the amicus brief from a huge coalition of newspapers. Basically, every big US newspaper or newspaper organization signed on to this one, including the Associated Press, AFP, the NY Times, the Washington Post, Gannett, McClatchy, Belo, Scripps, Time, and the Newspaper Association of America (just to catch everyone else). Considering that the AP has been leading the charge to bring back hot news, you can probably guess where this one is going:
The short summary? "We don't care about TheFlyOnTheWall or Barclays or this specific case, but we're scared to death that you might make a ruling that says the hot news doctrine should go away."

I'm still sort of amazed that any serious news organization supports the hot news doctrine, because it's almost guaranteed to come back and bite them if it is regularly used again. All of the newspapers above rely on rewriting news from other publications to some extent, whether they admit it or not. If they really support this, they're going to run into trouble themselves, even if they're apparently unwilling to admit it. It's incredibly short-sighted.

Also weird is the claim that these newspapers "rely" on hot news today. They don't. Sure, the hot news doctrine has technically been around for about a century, but it's barely been used at all in the last few decades. It was, for all intents and purposes, a dead doctrine that many considered not worth keeping around (pdf). To claim that these organizations have relied on the hot news doctrine is ridiculous, because it's barely been showing up in court until recently.

Either way, it looks like lots of parties who are concerned about "hot news" have realized that TheFlyOnTheWall case has become ground zero for whether or not "hot news" is actually allowed.
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Filed Under: hot news
Companies: afp, ap, belo, gannett, mcclatchy, naa, ny times, scripps, theflyonthewall, time, washington post


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  1. identicon
    known coward, 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:05am

    i do not know much about the hot news doctrine

    but as it is described, i kinda like it.

    I mean if a paper goes out and gets a story, and unless someone else goes out and research, the original source gets a one day, and one day only lead, I am ok with that. It meets the constitutional intent of giving someone a short advantage for doing the leg work in distributing News (news can be a useful art) that benefits the entire community. They get the credit for researching and reporting the story, and the people get the story, the next day other organizations can rewrite and not report, but day 1, the hard work deserves a pat on the back.

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