One Entertainment Business Publication Sues Another For Copyright Infringement For Having The Same Stories

from the idea-expression,-nikki dept

Nikki Finke, the infamous editor of Deadline.com is apparently suing the Hollywood Reporter for copyright infringement... because it wrote stories on the same news events as Deadline.com. Seriously. Here's Finke's quote:
"PMC (the company that owns Deadline.com) is taking a stand against desperate and copycat news organizations and media outlets such as THR that constantly monitor PMC’s websites for the sole purpose of copying and imitating PMC websites’ news stories and original content within minutes after online publication. These copycat media outlets such as THR, rather than conducting their own independent reporting and investigation, developing their own sources and insiders, and generating their own leads and stories, simply steal PMC’s content and pawn it off as their own. In truth, THR, faced with the harsh reality that it had become a second-rate entertainment industry news source unable to attract insiders’ attention anymore."
THR, for its part, claims the whole thing is ridiculous, and many of the stories mentioned were on both sites because Hollywood publicists sent the same info to both sites:
"An initial review of the complaint shows that it is replete with examples of stories that originated from widely-released press releases from publicists, or widespread confirmations from publicists to numerous outlets, including both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com. It is not copyright infringement to report these stories, even if on occasion Deadline.com posts them first."
While I don't always agree with THR's coverage, on this one, I'm on their side. Reporting on the same story -- even if you find out about it from the other site -- is not copyright infringement. It's often how news works. Someone should explain to Finke the idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law, as well as the important tidbit of information that you can't own facts, and others are free to write about the same facts.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    Pirate Mike,

    I was just going to post a link to the complaint and say that there's more to the story, but I feel I must point out how you blew this one (like you blow so many others) because you jumped to conclusions.

    If I were going to write a story about how Deadline is wrong and stupid for not understanding the idea/expression dichotomy, I would first look at the actual complaint to see what in fact they are arguing.

    If you read the complaint, it is clear that they are only suing over source code that was allegedly copied verbatim and for which Deadline has filed applications for the copyright on. They are NOT suing over any sort of hot news claim, as you erroneously say they are.

    This is what I mean about doing basic Journalism 101 stuff. It took me 30 seconds on Google to find the complaint, and then 2 minutes of reading the complaint to see what was actually being claimed. With 2.5 minutes of research, I was able to completely debunk your entire argument.

    Did you do even this most basic amount of research before writing this piece? Nope. It's ridiculously sad. Seriously. If you only did this every once in a while, that'd be forgivable. But the fact is you do this all the time.

    If you want to be taken seriously, it would help if you did even the most basic research into a story. Instead, you jump to conclusions in your haste to spread FUD on a copyright story.

    Your bias blinds you to a fault. You COMPLETELY BLEW this one, chubby. Again.

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