US courts figured this out a while ago, but it's nice to see that an Australian court has now ruled that newspaper headlines don't deserve copyright protection
. The specific lawsuit was over the use of Australian Financial Review headlines in LexisNexis, which also summarized the articles in question. It appears the judge also said that the use of the headlines constitutes "fair dealing," but I'm a bit confused about the combination here. If the headlines aren't copyrightable... then fair dealing shouldn't even come into play. Not surprisingly, the publisher of AFR, Fairfax Media, is not at all happy about the ruling, making the totally laughable argument that copyrights on headlines is necessary
Gill described the judgment as "disappointing", adding: "It is not consistent with what is necessary to protect intellectual property in the digital media environment... We are considering our appeal opportunities."
Seriously. If you're relying on copyright protection of your news headlines as a part of your business model, you've got the wrong business model.