Hot News Showing Up Everywhere: Costco Sued For 'Violating' Hot News In Publishing Market Data

from the oh-come-on dept

It seems like every few days or so we're seeing lawsuits attempting to stretch the hot news doctrine further and further. News organizations who support hot news as a concept really have no idea what sort of can of worms they've opened up. Since the infamous (and ongoing) theflyonthewall case, we're seeing hot news pop up in all sorts of weird places. The latest, as sent over by Eric Goldman, is that Costco is being sued by "Banxcorp" for hot news violations (along with copyright violations and a bunch of other things) for republishing Banxcorp's data showing national average money market and CD rates.

But, of course, such data is factual information, right? And, indeed, the judge seems to realize this quickly and, for the most part does not buy the copyright claim. However, the judge leaves a little wiggle room, and refuses to dismiss the copyright claims in response to Costco's motion to dismiss. He does note that the data is not copyrightable, and the final values are not copyrightable, but suggests that maybe, sorta, possibly Banxcorp could convince the court that the methodology it uses in converting the raw data into final values could have enough creativity to be covered by copyright. But, he still sounds skeptical. So now everyone has to waste time filing motions for summary judgment, and we'll have to see how far this goes.

But, of course, Banxcorp doesn't just rely on copyright. Now that "hot news" is back with a vengeance, more and more organizations are realizing they can effectively claim copyright on some facts by hiding it under a hot news claim. Costco tried to get this dismissed by arguing (1) that the hot news claims are pre-empted by the copyright claims and (2) that there was no real hot news claim. Once again the court refuses to dismiss this, suggesting that Banxcorp has properly hit on all the prongs needed to file a hot news claim, though it notes that these can and probably will be "revisited" during motions for summary judgment. So the hot news claim lives on to another day. Watch out folks. Repeating a reported average financial rate may put you in hot water for hot news. How long until this comes back to bite a newspaper who is in favor of hot news?
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Filed Under: copyright, data, hot news
Companies: banxcorp, costco


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  • identicon
    Bruce Campbell, 23 Jul 2010 @ 4:34pm

    Time to retire the old business models, again!

    Open, easy to find information signals the death knell for whole rafts of businesses where analysis and statistical massaging of large bodies of information, publicly available if logistically once complex to capture, used to have value. With knowledge, networks and processing power, anyone with the inclination to act as an Arbitrageur can now do so, without swanky New York or City of London premises. And the people who have made billions for doing so for decades don't like this democratization one little bit. Wake up, Wizards of Wall street! The curtains are open, and we can see what you're doing back there!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Snidely, 25 Jul 2010 @ 4:54am

    I've seen the future

    Major corporations that have to report poor earnings can use the hot news claim to prevent newspapers from reporting on their poor earnings. Great new strategy...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2010 @ 5:08pm

    "but suggests that maybe, sorta, possibly Banxcorp could convince the court that the methodology it uses in converting the raw data into final values could have enough creativity to be covered by copyright."

    Uhm... So does this mean that addition and subtraction will soon be covered by copyright?

    So 2 + 2 = 4

    So if I can come up with a creative methodology to arrive at 4 after adding 2 + 2 maybe I can get a copyright on it. Uhm... well, when I put 2 and 2 together mentally I got four. There, creativeness, now for everyone else who did so pay up.

    Or when I put it in the calculator, guess what. I get the same value. I'm so creative for sticking it in the calculator that I can hardly contain myself. Now anyone who uses a calculator to add numbers must pay me money.

    Or if I write it down and add them up on my fingers, same thing. That's creative, now pay up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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