Meltwater took between 4.5% and 61% of the Registered Articles. It automatically took the lede from every AP story. As described by AP’s Standards Editor, the lede is “meant to convey the heart of the story.” A lede is a sentence that takes significant journalistic skill to craft. There is no other single sentence from an AP story that is as consistently important from article to article –- neither the final sentence nor any sentence that begins any succeeding paragraph in the story.
What does this mean? The court basically ruled that Meltwater infringed on the copyright on the news posts of the Associated Press story by even only re-posting a single sentence. Forums typically post the first few lines of a story which then goes into discussion about the story. With the court finding that even reposting a single lede sentence, that fair use right is now DESTROYED and anybody that has posted a news story like this is suddenly possibly liable of copyright infringement with a max penalty of a $250,000 fine and possible jail time.
Then again, I’m not a lawyer, so anybody with other info to share or insight should probably share the info. This post isn’t legal advice, colsult your attorney, yadda yadda.