Judge Dumps Lawsuit Claiming Copyright Infringement Over Legal Filings

from the gone-gone-gone dept

Last year, we wrote about a couple of lawyers, Edward White and Kenneth Elan, suing Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis for daring to republish their legal briefs as a part of their legal databases. As we noted at the time, we hoped that any court ruling would make it clear that posting publicly filed legal documents was fair use. The case has had a few twists and turns. First, the court dumped Elan and rejected the attempt to include lawyers who had not registered the copyright in their filings as a part of a class. Since most lawyers don't bother filing a copyright in their own legal filings, that really shrunk the possible class. White refiled the case by himself and not as a class action... but the court has quickly dumped the case on summary judgment. The full ruling should follow, but for now it appears that the judge was not at all impressed by attempts to use copyright law to block the republishing of legal documents:
After carefully considering the parties' written submissions and oral arguments, the Court hereby grants defendants' motions for summary judgment and denies plaintiff's motion.
In other words, the case is over and the lawyer loses and the legal databases win. That's a good result, though we'll see what the eventual ruling says in terms of details.
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Filed Under: copyright, edward white, kenneth elan, legal filings
Companies: lexis-nexis, westlaw


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2013 @ 12:58pm

    The tempation to make yet another "Chubby" pun is too great, must use self control...

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

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 14 Feb 2013 @ 1:22pm

    "... and the legal databases win."


    Bravo. Now, if the legal databases could only lighten up about people using their collections of publicly-filed documents...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2013 @ 1:42pm

    But we let people copyright their legal filings they can only file so many copyright lawsuits before they'll be infringing no matter what they put in their legal briefs!

    That'll end copyright lawsuits altogether! Or get the trolls to get sued by other trolls for filing copyright lawsuits.

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

  • icon
    WDS (profile), 14 Feb 2013 @ 1:42pm

    The Opinion

    It would be nice if when the Opinion is published that it said only. "After careful consideration the court decided that 'Public Document' actually meant 'Public'".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2013 @ 1:59am

    Damn, if only I was doing the sort of thing we do in our downtime -- running a Twitter search for the term "infringement."

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

  • icon
    btrussell (profile), 16 Feb 2013 @ 2:09am

    Without copyright, lawyers would have no incentive for filing.

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


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