More Filings Raise Concerns About Hot News And The First Amendment

from the speech? dept

We've already covered how Google and Twitter weighed in with concerns about the "hot news" doctrine. Then we covered how a bunch of big newspapers and newspaper groups begged the court not to take away "hot news." And, now, we get to the First Amendment arguments. We've been alerted to two more amici briefs, both of which ask the court to review "hot news" from a First Amendment perspective -- something that really hasn't happened before. The first is a very, very detailed brief from Citizen Media Law Project, the EFF and Public Citizen, which goes into great detail about why this is an important First Amendment issue:
That brief doesn't take a specific position on the case itself, but merely asks the court to consider the First Amendment, and to make sure that any ruling does not cut off First Amendment protections. In some ways, it's the opposite of the newspapers' brief, which also refused to take a specific position on the case, but wanted to make sure that a First Amendment claim did not kill off "hot news."

The second one may be even more interesting. It comes from AHN, better known as All Headline News, which very clearly says the court should overturn the lower court's ruling. AHN has some direct experience here, as the AP sued it over "hot news" not so long ago, though the two sides eventually settled. So it, perhaps more than anyone else, has direct experience with just how much a "hot news" lawsuit can chill speech:
The First Amendment arguments are the ones that resonate with me the most as well. Hopefully the court agrees.

Filed Under: first amendment, hot news
Companies: all headline news, citizen media law project, eff, public citizen

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2010 @ 10:20am

    How they will defend "hot news doctrine"?

    There is no reasonable way I can see. It will be used as a hammer to block, blogs, and social networks(i.e. twitter, youtube, vimeo, facebook...).

    Imagine people debating the oil spill on the coast, would BP not use the hot doctrine to curb everyone from talking about it? Would people talking about the deluges in China, U.S. and Brazil be forced to not do that so the news agency can be the only one discussing that?

    I bogs my mind on what that means, people can be censored, opinions can be controlled, I don't see how that is good in any way to anybody but the supposedly source of the news that in many cases is not even the source is a "reporter", what will happen when people in China say they are all suffering from the rains, or the people on the gulf starts blogging about the oil blobs is that when people can start discussing? Because is people on the ground that are in the local region reporting those things do they get a million dollars to stay quite or do they get a C&D for reporting what they see so some company can report on that?

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