News Clippings Violate Copyright


Sorry Fair Use, Court Says News Clipping Service Infringes On AP Copyrights | Techdirt

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.


This is a stupid decision that I truly believe will get overturned. When newspapers and magazines learn their book and movie reviews have become violations of copyright law, I think the appeals court will get amicus briefs by the pound!

BTW, great to see you Maylar!


After a quick scan… I think this decision will either be overturned or upheld as a very narrow decision due to the unique status of Meltwater as a subscription service. I don’t think it has larger implications in any event. I’m going to give it a closer reading when I have time but it doesn’t seem too important on first look.


I am sick and tired of Copyright crybabies trying to stretch every point to a ridiculous extreme, there should be an organized effort to completely ignore every news outlet that complains about this free advertising so they have to try and get traffic to their sites without all the news aggregators.

Most of these rags would fold if left to their own abilities, the sooner the better.


The “Mickey Mouse” copyright law should be thrown out, too. “Mickey Mouse” should be a trademark, not a copyright. And that law makes a lot of music inaccessible, because it is no longer in print, but I can’t reprint it, because it is still under copyright law. I’ve been trying to find out if I can get permission to submit a Christmas song to cyberhymnal, which, to my knowledge, was only ever printed once - can’t find any other reference to it on the internet - but which, according to the owner of cyberhymnal, is still under copyright according to the “Mickey Mouse” law. There is a lot about that law that I don’t understand - I thought it would have been in public domain before the Mickey Mouse law; the original copyright was 1928. And as near as I can tell, the company which owns (owned?) the copyright is no longer in existence.