Copyright

Liberte, Egalite, Technologie: The French Resistance and the Anti-Piracy Campaign

The music and motion picture industries suffered a setback in their global anti-piracy carpet-bombing campaign on June 10, when the French Conseil Constitutionnel struck down the internet-banning portions of the HADOPI law.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Target Corp. v. Doe

Date: 

09/05/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe, Charles Emmerson William Harris

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division

Case Number: 

1:06-cv-02116-CC

Publication Medium: 

Forum
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Target Corporation, a chain retailer, filed a lawsuit against an initially unknown Internet user with the handle “Target Sucks” for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets for allegedly posting information on various retail-employee forums and blogs. Target identified the user as Charles Emmerson William Harris based on the information it received after subpoening Internet providers. Harris allegedly posted Target’s "Asset Protection Directives," an in-house theft prevention manual, on several websites critical of Target.

Target asserted in its two-count complaint that the user “acquired a copy of Target’s AP Directives from a recently terminated Target employee, Scott Hundt.” Target alleges that Hundt emailed a copy of the AP Directives to the user, as well as posting that information on the website www.targetunion.org. After learning of the post, Target threatened legal action against Hundt, who admitted wrongdoing and cooperated with Target's subsequent efforts to block the further dissemination of the AP Directives. Target and Hundt emailed cease-and-desist orders to the user and received no reply. Target alleges that instead of complying with its demands, the user posted the AP directives to “various retail-employee forums on the Internet.” Target sent cease-and-desist letters to those forums, and the AP Directives were removed. Target asserted that the user’s “dissemination of the Target AP Directives is deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive, and without regard to Target’s proprietary rights.” Compl. ¶ 33. Further, the complaint asserted that user had disclosed “such information without the express or implied consent of Target, for the benefit of himself.” Compl. ¶ 42.

In an effort to discover the identity of the then-anonymous user, Target subpoenaed AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Qwest, Comcast, and UPS.  Compl. Ex. B. The court granted these subpoenas. Based on the information it obtained through investigation, Target identified the user as Charles Harris. Target claimed that it confirmed this identification based on the documents relating to IP address and P.O. Box information it received in response to its subpoenas to website, email, mail, and internet providers. Req. for Service.

On 04/10/2007, a civil summons was issued for  Charles Emerson William Harris. However, attempts to locate Harris for service failed. On 12/21/2007, the court granted a motion for service by publication to the Fulton County Daily Report. This notice was posted on 01/15/2008.  On 07/16/2008 the case was dismissed for want of prosecution pursuant to Local Rule 41.3(A)(3) because the case had been pending for more than 6 months without a substantial proceeding of record.  

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Source: TechDirt

AVM 6/02

 

Subject Area: 

Merrill Lynch to Financial Blogger: Don't Quote Our Bearish Reports

Felix Salmon of Reuters reports that the pseudonymous lead blogger behind the financial blog Zero Hedge received DMCA takedown notices for six posts that cited or excerpted from Merrill Lynch reports authored by Merrill's former chief economist, David Rosenberg.  According to Salmon, Zero Hedge is "an insider financial blog whose writers believe the worst of the mel

Subject Area: 

Merrill Lynch v. "Tyler Durden"

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

05/12/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

"Tyler Durden"; Zero Hedge

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

In May 2009, lawyers for Merrill Lynch sent cease-and-desist letters alleging copyright infringement to"Tyler Durden" of the financial blog Zero Hedge over six posts that cited or excerpted from Merrill Lynch reports authored by Merrill's former chief economist, David Rosenberg. According to Reuters, Zero Hedge is "an insider financial blog whose writers believe the worst of the meltdown is yet to come," and the Rosenberg reports jive with this bearish view of the economy.  

In a post about the takedown requests, Durden announced that he would take down the posts, primarily out of concern over the cost of hiring a lawyer, but he told Reuters that he hadn't yet ruled out consulting a lawyer. Because the disputed posts are down, it is impossible to tell how much of the Rosenberg reports Durden used.

Threat Source: 

RSS

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

FORBA v. Hagan

Date: 

11/14/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Debbie Hagan

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (Ownsboro)

Case Number: 

4:08-cv-00137-JHM

Legal Counsel: 

Pro se

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued
Withdrawn

Description: 

FORBA Holdings, a dental practice management company, sued blogger Debbie Hagan after she posted internal FORBA documents on her blog, Dentist the Menace, which covers alleged misconduct in the dental profession.

According to the complaint, Google search crawlers indexed a password-protected FTP site hosting FORBA internal documents, and Hagan was able to obtain copies of these documents through a Google search for the term "forbainfo.com." The documents in question included marketing materials, recruitment strategy information, spreadsheets and facility information lists, as well as internal PowerPoint presentations. Hagan allegedly provided links to certain of the FORBA documents and posted copies of others for viewing and download.  FORBA contended that, by posting these materials, Hagan misappropriated trade secrets embodied in the confidential documents and infringed its copyrights in the PowerPoint presentations.  

FORBA also alleged that Hagan defamed the company on her blog by falsely claiming that FORBA engaged in "barbaric back alley dentistry and abusing children children in the process."

After filing suit, FORBA moved for a preliminary injunction barring Hagan from publishing its confidential and copyright-protected materials.  In November 2008, Hagan consented to the entry of a permanent injunction prohibiting her from publishing or posting "any internal and/or copyrighted documents or other information of FORBA obtained, directly or indirectly, through access to the FORBA FTP Site . . . and/or . . . any other internal and/or confidential FORBA documents or information. . . ."

FORBA subsequently dismissed its defamation claim voluntarily, and later moved to voluntarily dismiss the entire case without prejudice, leaving the consent injunction in n full force and effect. The court granted the motion in April 2009, dismissing the case and leaving the consent injunction in place. 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

2-Normal

CMLP Notes: 

Via Marc Randazza

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

User Feedback

White House Drops License Restrictions on Photos, Flickr Stream Now in Public Domain

Wired/Epicenter reported yesterday that popular photo-sharing site Flickr, in collaboration with the Obama administration, has changed the licensing designation on photos in the Official White House Photostream to reflect that, as U.S.

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Subject Area: 

YouTube Restores National Organization for Marriage Video Outside DMCA Parameters, Cites Fair Use

National Organiztion for Marriage v. YouTube Users

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

04/01/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Various YouTube Users

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

In April 2009, the anti-gay-marriage group National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") sent a number of DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, demanding that it take down clips of leaked audition outtakes from NOM's "Gathering Storm" advocacy ad, which had been uncovered by the Human Rights Campaign and circulated widely online.  It looks like NOM also sent DMCA takedown notices based on user parodies of the outtakes and/or the ad (e.g.), although many videos of this type are still available on the siteAccording to Wired's Threat Level blog, some YouTube users responded by "saving the videos with keepvid.com, and then uploading them back to YouTube when they’re pulled."

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

National Organization for Marriage v. Maddow

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

04/13/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

MSNBC; Rachel Maddow

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Publication Medium: 

Broadcast
Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Material Reinstated

Description: 

According to Wired's Threat Level blog, in April 2009 the anti-gay-marriage group National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, demanding that it take down a clip from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.  In the clip, Maddow criticizes NOM's "Gathering Storm" advocacy ad, displays short excerpts from the ad and 40 seconds of leaked audition outtakes from the ad, which had been uncovered by the Human Rights Campaign and posted widely on video-sharing sites like YouTube. 

In response to the DMCA notice, YouTube pulled down the clip.

MSNBC apparently sent a counter notice, and YouTube put the clip back up.  Subsequently, Maddow commented on the DMCA takedown request and chided NOM on the air for using copyright law to silence critical commentary:

A cable news segment critical of an issue ad violates the copyright of the organization that made that ad? So you can pay to put it on TV, but I can't address its merits on TV?  Come now anti-gay-marriage people, I know your campaign is about how scared we should all be of gay marriage, but now you're scared of people talking about your stance on it?

Subject Area: 

CMLP Notes: 

embeds for videos (needed each time you edit this entry)

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/x7NQ3QUP0Dc&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/x7NQ3QUP0Dc&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/FgC5ANURIYc&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/FgC5ANURIYc&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Miss Universe v. National Organization for Marriage

Date: 

05/04/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

National Organization for Marriage

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Legal Counsel: 

Barry A. Bostrom - Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom

Publication Medium: 

Broadcast
Micro-blog
Social Network
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On May 4, 2009, counsel for Miss Universe L.P., LLP ("MUO") sent a cease-and-desist letter to the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") complaining about an advocacy ad entitled "No Offense," which incorporates excerpts from the televised broadcast of the 2009 Miss Universe pagent.  The letter claimed that the ad violated MUO's copyright and objected to NOM broadcasting the ad on television and posting it on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

According to NOM, the ad "highlights the efforts of same-sex marriage activists to silence and discredit pro-marriage advocates, calling them 'liars,' 'bigots,' and worse." It focuses on the controversy surrounding Miss California Carrie Prejean's answer to a question about gay marriage during the 2009 pageant. The footage that MUO objects to depicts Miss Prejean responding to a question from celebrity blogger and pageant judge Mario Lavandeira, saying "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there . . . ."

On May 5, counsel for NOM responded, rejecting MUO's demand that it cease and desist from broadcasting and posting the ad and arguing that its incorporation of the 2009 pageant footage for purposes of politcal commentary is a fair use.

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Lavandeira v. National Organization for Marriage

Date: 

04/30/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

National Organization for Marriage

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Legal Counsel: 

Barry A. Bostrom - Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom

Publication Medium: 

Broadcast
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Mario Lavandeira, a.k.a. Perez Hilton, sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, claiming that a clip of an advocacy ad entitled "No Offense" from the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") violated his copyright. In response to Lavandeira's notice, YouTube removed the video.

According to NOM, the ad "highlights the efforts of same-sex marriage activists to silence and discredit pro-marriage advocates, calling them 'liars,' 'bigots,' and worse." The ad, which appears in 30-second and 60-second versions, uses approximately three seconds of footage from Mr. Lavandeira's video blog, in which he calls Miss California Carrie Prejean a “dumb bitch.”   

Mr. Lavandeira also sent a cease-and-desist letter to NOM, demanding that it stop broadcasting the ad on television. NOM's lawyers shot back a response letter refusing his demand on fair use grounds:

No permission was required and no permission was sought from Mr. Lavandeira for use of the approximately three second clip of the video he posted on the Internet of his unjustified and unprofessional diatribe against and personal attack on Carrie Prejean, Miss California, for her response to his question at the Miss USA Competition, April 19, 2009. NOM's use of this three second video clip is protected by 17 U.S.C. § 107 for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, and education as it relates directly to NOM's exempt purpose. NOM's use is not a commercial use, but as an issue advocacy advertisement is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the fair use doctrine of the Copyright Act.

According to one press account, NOM's lawyers also sent a counter-notification to YouTube, requesting that the video be reinstated. 

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Orix v. Predatorix

Date: 

04/24/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Super Future Equities, Inc.; Schumann Rafizadeh; Cyrus Rafizadeh; Houman Thomas Arjmandi; Keon Michael Arjmandi

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Case Number: 

3-06-CV-0271-B

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$12,500,000.00

Legal Counsel: 

Timothy F. Gavin, Charles J. Blanchard, Richard A. Rohan - Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal; Jeffrey W. Glass - Law Office of Jeffrey W. Glass; Jon P. Bohn - Bohn & Aucloux; Julie A Zanutto - Law Office of Julie A. Zanutto

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Retraction Issued
Settled (total)
Verdict (plaintiff)

Description: 

In the course of an ongoing lawsuit, Orix Capital Markets, LLC filed a counterclaim against Super Future Equities, Inc., Schumann Rafizadeh, Cyrus Rafizadeh, Houman Thomas Arjmandi, and Keon Michael Arjmandi.  The counterclaim alleged that the defendants set up a website -- www.predatorix.com -- that published false and defamatory statements about Orix.  For example, Orix claimed that the website accused the company of committing tax fraud and being under federal investigation for violating racketeering laws.  Later, Orix filed an amended counterclaim to add a copyright infringement claim arising from Predatorix's re-posting of a page from the Orix website.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which, in March 2008, the court granted in part and denied in part.  The court dismissed Orix's claims for business disparagement, tortious interference, and copyright infringement (notably, the court found that Predatorix's use of the Orix page was fair use), but found that the defamation claim was sufficient to go to the jury.

In February 2009, after a two-week trial, the jury awarded Orix $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, split between the defendants, except Keon Michael Arjmandi, who was not found liable.  After the verdict, the parties settled the case on undisclosed terms.  After the settlement, the Rafizadehs published an apology on Predatorix, acknowledging that the postings were incorrect.

CMLP Notes: 

Note that the counterclaim is the threat, not the overall lawsuit. {MCS}

Priority: 

2-Normal

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Whatever Happened to Playing Fair?

A few recent intellectual property disputes have highlighted the fact that the decision to pursue legal action is both a legal and a moral choice.  While concepts such as "fair use" help to ensure protection of both intellectual property rights while promoting creative expression, they can't replace a simple concept we all learned in kindergarten:  "treat others the way you’d like them to treat you."

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

CW 11 News v. Improv Everywhere

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

04/01/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Improv Everywhere

Type of Party: 

Organization
Media Company

Type of Party: 

Organization

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

After receiving a copyright complaint from the Tribune Company, YouTube took down a video from comedic performance group Improv Everywhere that allegedly infringed copright in a CW 11 (WPIX-TV) news broadcast. The CW 11 broadcast discussed an Improv Everywhere prank and reproduced excerpts from one of Improv Everywhere's own videos.

The original Improv Everywhere video showed an April Fools Day prank in which the group crashed a staged funeral.  CW 11 broadcast a news story about the video under the assumption that the video was a prank on unsuspecting funeral-goers.  In reality, Improv's prank was on any viewer who believed the video to be real.  Improv Everywhere has a detailed post on the takedown.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

Source: BoingBoing

status checked 6/17/09; no new info - CMF

Priority: 

2-Normal

Hammer v. Amazon.com

Date: 

08/27/2003

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Amazon.com

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Case Number: 

2:03-cv-04238-JS-MLO

Legal Counsel: 

Heather J. Windt - Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Self-published author Jeffrey Hammer sued Amazon.com in New York state court (later removed to federal court by Amazon) alleging libel, defamation, antitrust violations, breach of contract, and copyright violations, among others things.  The dispute revolved around negative reviews of Hammer's books posted on Amazon.com by reviewer Anthony Trendl and Amazon's failure to remove Trendl as a reviewer.  Before filing suit against Amazon, Hammer sued Trendl directly, but a federal court dismissed the lawsuit.  (For details, see our database entry, Hammer v. Trendl.) 

Hammer's complaint claimed that Amazon was liable for publishing Trendl's allegedly defamatory statements, that Amazon violated his copyright by displaying a graphic depicting Plaintiff's book cover, and that Amazon breached its contract with him and otherwise violated his rights by removing his books from the site and refusing to do further business with him. 

Amazon moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Hammer's allegations failed to state a claim and that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act ("Section 230") protected it from liability for publishing Trendl's statements. Amazon also moved the court for a permanent injunction to prevent Hammer from filing future lawsuits against it.

The court granted Amazon's motion to dismiss and partially granted its motion for a permanent injunction against Hammer.  The court ruled that Trendl's comments were statements of opinion that could not support a defamation claim.  The court dismissed the copyright claim, finding that Amazon's use of the book graphic either involved no copying, or alternatively, was authorized by Hammer.  The court found that Amazon was within its contract rights terminating its relationship with Hammer.  The court did not reach Amazon's Section 230 argument.

The court granted an injunction against Hammer preventing him from commencing any action against Amazon in federal court relating to reviews of his books or Amazon's refusal to do business with him.  

Content Type: 

CMLP Notes: 

RPK

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Hammer v. Trendl

Date: 

04/23/2002

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Anthony Trendl

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Case Number: 

2:02-cv-02462

Legal Counsel: 

Heather Windt - Friedman Kaplan Seiler and Adelman LLP

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

In early 2002, self-published author Jeffrey Hammer sued Anthony Trendl in federal court in New York alleging violations of federal copyright law and defamation for negative reviews posted on Amazon about Hammer's books.  Hammer also sought a temporary restraining order preventing Trendl from posting any further comments on Hammer's books on the internet, enjoining Amazon from removing his books from its website, and directing Amazon to remove the negative comments.

The court denied the request for a temporary restraining order.  It found that Trendl's comments were pure opinion and therefore protected speech and that there was no evidence that Trendl copied any of the work.  The court also ruled that Amazon could not be subjected to an injunction because it was not a party to the case, despite Hammer's argument that Amazon provided Trendl with an attorney.

The court also granted Trendl's motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. Later, the court instituted a special procedure that Hammer had to follow if he wanted to file any papers in connection to the case because of the high number of motions he filed (over 50).  After receiving this order, Hammer continued filing motions and filed a lawsuit against Amazon.  The court then issued an order preventing him from filing any papers in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York without advance permission from the court.  Hammer's appeals to the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court were denied.  

CMLP Notes: 

EDNY Pacer doesn't have the court documents.  However, the Pacer docket shows some craziness - I think Hammer has been precluded from filing any lawsuits in EDNY in the future absent permission from the court.  Whoever edits this entry should check that out. {MCS}

Order available at 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 623

Also see Hammer v. Amazon.com, 392 F. Supp. 2d 423, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33398 (E.D.N.Y., 2005) 

RPK

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Associated Press v. All Headline News

Date: 

01/14/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

All Headline News Corp.; AHN Media Corp.; W. Jeffrey Brown; Danielle George

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-00323-PKC

Legal Counsel: 

Brian D. Caplan, Jonathan James Ross (Caplan & Ross, LLP); Eric A. Prager, Atul R. Singh, Steven Edward Lipman (Darby & Darby, P.C. (NYC)); Robert L. Jacobson (Darby & Darby, P.C. (Seattle)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

On January 14, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) sued All Headline News (AHN), W. Jeffrey Brown, the owner of AHN, and Danielle George, a senior editor for AHN.  The AP claims that AHN is illegally copying and rewriting stories by AP reporters and distributing the stories to clients and displaying the stories on the AHN website.  The AP is seeking to restrain AHN from further distribution of AP material and to recover unspecified damages.

The AP is a not-for-profit membership corporation that describes itself as the oldest and largest news agency in the world, employing about 3,000 reporters, and distributing news content to thousands of radio and television stations, newspapers, and internet news portals.  AHN is a Florida-based company that describes itself as "a leading provider of news, weather, and other content for web sites, wireless, digital signage, interactive applications, broadcast and print use."  The AP's complaint alleges that AHN does not employ its own reporters, and instead instructs its writers to copy or rewrite breaking news stories found on the Internet. 

The AP's complaint specifically identifies six articles written by AP reporters, claiming that AHN "copied some or all of the expression contained within" the articles, and then transmitted the articles to AHN customers and displayed the articles on the AHN website.  The AP claims that these and similar practices have infringed their copyright "hundreds if not thousands of times."  The AP claims these practices also violated their quasi-property right in breaking news under the New York common law tort of hot news misappropriation.  The AP also alleges that AHN intentionally removed the AP's name from some news reports, constituting impermissible altering or removing of copyright management information under the DMCA.  AP's amended complaint also includes claims for trademark infringement, unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act, unfair competition in violation of New York Common law, and breaches of contract. 

On February 17, 2009, Judge P. Kevin Castel, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted AHN's motion to dismiss the trademark claim, finding that it lacked factual support.  Judge Castel also dismissed the claim of unfair competition under the Lanham Act, finding that AHN can legally claim that it maintains a "news division" even if they do no original reporting.  Judge Castel declined to dismiss the other claims, most notably finding that hot news misappropriation was a recognized cause of action under New York law. 

Update:

3/19/09 - The parties agreed to pursue private mediation.

6/15/09 - The court dismissed claims after the parties reached a settlement. According to a subsequent press release, AHN paid an unspecified sum to settle the case and "agreed that [it] would not make competitive use of content or expression from AP stories."  AHN also acknowledged that "there were many instances in which AHN improperly used AP's content without AP's consent" and that "the tort of 'hot news misappropriation' has been upheld by other courts and was ruled applicable in this case by U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel."

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

AP Tells Google and Other News Aggregators to Pay Up or Face Lawsuits

The Associated Press has announced that it is willing to fight over the question of who owns the content its member newspapers produce, even if it means no longer playing nice with the giants of the Web like Google.

Subject Area: 

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