Date

Wed - 23.04.2014


copyright infringement

Yesterday the Associated Press filed a lawsuit in the Southern district of New York against Oslo-based Meltwater News for copyright infringement. The AP complains that the Norwegian company sells articles, which are produced and owned by the AP, to paying customers without a license. The news wire wants an injunction against Meltwater as well as financial compensation.

Laura Malone, AP acting general council, is quoted in the AP's press release about the suit: "Meltwater earns substantial fees for redistributing premium news content, while bearing none of the costs associated with creating that content."

The AP also complains that, because Meltwater only pays to distribute, but not to create journalism, it can afford to undercut the AP's rates. The news agency has already lost clients to Meltwater including the US department of Homeland Security and fees from Lexis Nexis and Factiva.

What's more, the AP complains that Meltwater shares "lengthier" and "more systematic" extracts from AP news articles than other aggregators, without adding its own editorial commentary. The AP accuses Meltwater of holding onto a "vast archive of AP articles", a high proportion of which are no longer publically available on the internet.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-02-15 16:02

Today Wikipedia has blacked out its English language pages in protest again the proposed anti-piracy legislation in the US, which it says could "fatally damage the free and open Internet."

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills that have caused the controversy are intended to stop the infringement of US copyright material by overseas websites. If passed, SOPA would give the US Justice Department and copyright holders the power to seek court orders to block search engine results or websites linking to pirated material. PIPA, due to come before the Senate on January 24th, proposes similar measures.

Wikipedia objects that the proposed laws will block entire sites unnecessarily and place the onus on site owners to police the material they link to, with damaging consequences:

"Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression."

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-01-18 16:55

Amendments tabled to the Digital Economy Bill by Lord Lucas could protect search engines from copyright liability in the United Kingdom, PressGazette reported yesterday. However, this would not apply to content on a Web site that used technology to block crawlers, such as robots.txt.

"Brilliant. Immediately all of the rows and back-and-forth between ill-advised newspapers and publishers is given a clear legal footing. It would be legal to be a search engine, and you can tell them to keep out if you wish. A few sentences saves millions of pounds of court costs and clears the headaches of everyone involved," Ian Douglas wrote for Telegraph.co.uk.
If the amendment is passed, it could make it impossible for sites that have not blocked content from search engines to sue for copyright infringement.

The bill also would allow copyright creators to re-market their content by obtaining a license to publish it themselves if the copyright owner does not offer it across formats and in all regions within two years. If it is not published at all within five years, the creator also has a right to obtain a license, as well as legally settle the dispute with a cap of £1,000 on legal expenses, according to Douglas.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-01-14 01:01

Google has been fined €300,000 in damages and ordered to stop digitising books in France, MediaGuardian reported today. The online giant was found to have violated copyright law by scanning books and putting excerpts online, after French publishers challenged the practice.

The La Martiniere group, which publishes Editions du Seuil SAS, asked the Paris court to fine Google €15 million. Joining them in the lawsuit was authors' group SGDL and French publishers' association SNE. Google has said it will appeal the ruling.

"French readers now face the threat of losing access to a significant body of knowledge and falling behind the rest of Internet users," Philippe Colombet, director of development for Google Books in France, told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. "Displaying a limited number of short extracts from books complies with copyright legislation both in France and the U.S. - and improves access to books."

However, the court stated that Google had indeed "violated author copyright laws by fully reproducing and making accessible on the site" books owned by Editions du Seuil without the publisher's permission.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-12-19 00:44

Days after media mogul Rupert Murdoch accused Google of copyright infringement, two media lawyers co-authored an editorial in one of Murdoch's U.S. newspapers in defense of such a theory, TechDirt reported Friday.

According to Bruce Sanford and Bruce Brown of Baker Hostetler in Washington, D.C., the world's largest search engine is illegal because it "make[s] and store[s] full copies of texts to power [its] search functions, profit[s] from this material, and at the same time demand[s] that copyright holders opt out if they don't want to be google-able," they wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

Image: Murdoch at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 2007. Photo from WEF's Flickr.

The lawyers, using last week's book-scanning settlement extension as the timepeg for the opinion piece, characterise Google's defense as analogising its services to that of a library. They reject the legal shield such a premise implies - that of "fair use" - saying search engines earn ad revenue for cataloguing information where libraries do not, rendering the search engines' use inherently unfair.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-11-17 21:01

In an ironic twist, a 60-year-old totalitarian government known for its virtually absolute control on its population's external communications has accused the world's most widely used free Internet search engine of curtailing freedom of information, The Associated Press reported today.

China, which tied for second to last place in Freedom House's 2009 index of Internet liberty, complained that from Wednesday through Friday attempts to link to People's Daily when listed among Google search results returned a warning that proceeding to the government-run publication could harm the user's computer because it contained corrupted software, Trading Markets reported today.

"After double checking, there is no malicious software detected on our Web site, and until now Google has not given us any explanation on this matter," Pan Jiang, the director of the books channel of People.com.cn, the official Web site of People's Daily, told the Global Times Monday.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-10-27 17:28

The Associated Press is hoping enriched metadata will stop others from scraping its scoops, an e-newspaper hosting and design service announced yesterday.

TownNews.com is a newspaper-specific Web publisher founded in Bigfork, Montana in 1989. Since then, TownNews.com's services have apparently expanded beyond initially automating news content to include optimising Internet traffic and, now, providing security to those losing profits from posting their wares on the Web. The e-publisher yesterday struck an accord with the AP to offer TownNews.com clients the option of implementing a microformat known as hNews 0.1.

hNews 0.1 was developed by the AP in partnership with a UK nonprofit, Media Standards Trust, using open source technology known as microformatting. This microformat has as its chief aim the prevention of copyright infringement. It strives to do this by embedding metadata indicating whether a given site is validly licensed to republish an article.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2009-10-22 17:59

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