AP win affirms 'hot news' protection

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AP win affirms 'hot news' protection

Wed Feb 18, 2009 @ 11:37PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

"Hot" or not -- a New York District Court judge has allowed a copyright suit filed by the Associated Press against All Headline News to continue.

In the lawsuit, AP alleges that AHN took its stories and prepared them for republication under the AHN banner. In some instances, AHN allegedly copied and pasted news stories directly onto its website. As a result, AP says it lost customers because of AHN's "free riding."

AP pointed to a 1918 U.S. Supreme Court case, International News Service vs. Associated Press, that said that breaking news is the "quasi-property" of a news-gathering organization. AHN believes that Florida law has rejected this theory and held so-called "hot news" to have tenuous value and thus not protected by copyright laws.

In his court decision, Judge Kevin Castel rejects the AHN's motion that Florida law should apply and moves the case forward.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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