Tuesday, May 20, 2014

INS v. AP (“Hot News”) case brief summary

INS v. AP (“Hot News”), (U.S. 1918) (CR – facts/ UnfairComp. – missappr.)

F: AP member newspapers feed information into AP. Then made available to all its members. AP had own reporters and photographers as independent newsgathering. News reports published by AP East Coast stolen by rival INS and forwarded to INS’ Midwest and West Coast papers to be published simultaneously or earlier as AP’s local counterparts. Sometimes totally copied, sometimes just took the basic facts.
 
-Facts are not Copyrightable. Public domain.
-Failure to acknowledge source. Kind of customer deception. Unfair competition.
 
RULE:
There is a ‘quasi-property’ right in the dissemination of uncopyrightable information, which is only enforceable against competitors. “Hot news”.
 
-Beyond the traditional context of ‘passing off’, this case stands for general common property right against ‘misappropriation’ of commercial value (of the fresh news – hot news). Competitive advantage that is illegitimate.
-Temporal limit on injunction.

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