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Court Upholds AP "Quasi-Property" Rights On Hot News 169

Posted by kdawson
from the discarded-lo-these-90-years dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A federal court ruled that the AP can sue competitors for 'quasi-property' rights on hot news, as well as for copyright infringement and several other claims. The so-called 'hot news' doctrine was created by a judge 90 years ago in another case, where the AP sued a competitor for copying wartime reporting and bribing its employees to send them a copy of unreleased news. The courts' solution was to make hot news a form of 'quasi-property' distinct from copyright, in part because facts cannot be copyrighted. But now the AP is making use of the precedent again, going after AHN which competes with the AP, alleging that they're somehow copying the AP's news. The AP has been rather busy with lawsuits lately, so even though the AP has a story about their own lawsuit, we won't link to it."
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Court Upholds AP "Quasi-Property" Rights On Hot News

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  • I call it plagiarism (Score:5, Informative)

    by alain94040 (785132) * on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:14PM (#26976389) Homepage

    Instead of this fancy legal term of "hot news", I use another term for what AHN is doing to AP: "plagiarism". According to nolo:

    putting your name on someone else's work is still plagiarism and is unethical within artistic, scientific, academic and political communities

    I guess the press is not one of those communities. I'm not a big fan of lawsuits: I was sued once by a company that wanted to put me out of business and they almost succeeded. Being right doesn't matter, it's whoever has the deepest pockets.

    So in this case, I'd much rather have the community (the readers) shun AHN. It's important for everyone to know what is going on, and let the public make their own choices.

    --
    FairSoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- where geeks are their own boss

    • by Joe U (443617) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:32PM (#26976647) Homepage Journal

      At what point does this end though? You can't own a fact.

      It's currently raining in NY (c) AP 2009?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mysidia (191772)

        Now that you've already posted it in public, it's not "hot" news anymore.

      • by hackstraw (262471) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:42PM (#26977213)

        At what point does this end though? You can't own a fact.

        You can sue over them though, as the Big sports associations have:

        This one covers "Hot scores" [wired.com].

        Back in 1996 this was apparently a controversial thing. Info here about owning facts here [cptech.org] and on the same site here [cptech.org].

        And there are still attempts to sue fantasy sports like this one [yahoo.com], but I've never heard of this kind of suit being won by the plaintiffs.

        Stranger things have been upheld in court.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zordak (123132)

        At what point does this end though?

        It ends at the point you no longer have a competitive advantage from having the "scoop." If I remember the case right, the court correctly noted that the facts can't be copyrighted, and instead carved out a narrow common law right to "hot news" based on a three-factor test I don't remember. There's really not much of a slippery slope here.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        If you reword it it's neither plagiarism nor copyright infringement. If you blockquote a portion of it it may or may not be fair use. But if you copy the whole thing word for word it's copyright infringement, and if you do that withoout attribution it's also plagiarism.

        You can't own facts, nor can you really own literary works; you can only hold copyright, which gives you a limited time monopoly oon its publication.

    • !plagiarism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zobier (585066) <zobierNO@SPAMzobier.net> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:35PM (#26976671)

      Covering the same story is not necessarily plagiarism, copying it verbatim would come directly under copyright but AFAICT that's not the case at issue.

      Anyway:

      The AP has been rather busy with lawsuits lately, so even though the AP has a story about their own lawsuit, we won't link to it.

      It made for a good joke but the AP doesn't seem to be covering this story (I was going to post the link but I can't find one).

      • by lastchance_000 (847415) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:14PM (#26977047)

        Maybe they sent themselves a DMCA takedown notice.

      • If they're reading the AP's articles, then altering them, why doesn't the AP have a copyright claim that the AHI's articles are derivative works of the AP's?

        • by zobier (585066)

          Because the AP's articles are derivative works of Current Events.

        • by Zordak (123132)

          why doesn't the AP have a copyright claim that the AHI's articles are derivative works of the AP's?

          Because they don't get exclusive rights in facts. I could copy all the facts from the leading biography of Pres. Obama and publish my own book based on those facts, and nobody would have a claim.

          • by kabloom (755503)

            But if they're reading the articles and loosely republishing them, then isn't their expression of those facts a deriviative work of the AP's expression of those facts? (That's copyrightable otherwise your software wouldn't be.)

            • by Zordak (123132)
              It would depend on how closely you track their expression. Code is copyrightable, but I don't get to copyright the algorithm I used, regardless of what SCO wanted to think.
      • Another news service covering a story is legitimate news. I've many times seen or heard an article or broadcast claim "[other news service] is reporting that..." I think the problem is that AHN is leaving out the "AP is reporting that..." part.

        The notion that advertising the original news service is as or more important than the news itself is not newsworthy to me.

    • it is not plagiarism (Score:5, Informative)

      by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:53PM (#26976853)

      The press isn't one of those communities because the press doesn't deal in the kinds of concepts you can plagiarize. If AHN copied AP text verbatim, you might say that they plagiarized the writing, but then they would get sued for copyright infringement. But they are merely stating the same fact as a fact stated in an AP news story, and it's a fact that, unlike a scientific experiment, didn't require creativity to observe--it merely required presence.

      So, I don't think it's plagiarism.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ethicalBob (1023525)
        The problem with this is that AHN isn't present. They are merely lifting AP stories.

        If they were at a new-event, there is no problem with them creating their own copy (words) and publishing. The entire news industry is based on exactly this.

        The problem with AHN is that they are not sending reporters to stories, they are merely copying AP stories.

        The Associated Press actually is set up for exactly this purpose (other outlets using their stories); but AP wire-service subscribers are held to certain
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HTH NE1 (675604)

          The problem with this is that AHN isn't present. They are merely lifting AP stories.

          The problem with AHN is that they are not sending reporters to stories, they are merely copying AP stories.

          I see what you did there.

          But what if they weren't just getting their facts from AP stories? What if they also got facts from another hot-news source that had information the AP didn't? Shouldn't they be able to combine the facts from two stories in a new narrative to create a more complete story?

          It seems other useful actions may run afoul of this, including providing a translation service. Are only the people who read a hot news item's original published languages deserving to be informed?

          I read the news to

          • But what if they weren't just getting their facts from AP stories? What if they also got facts from another hot-news source that had information the AP didn't? Shouldn't they be able to combine the facts from two stories in a new narrative to create a more complete story? It seems other useful actions may run afoul of this, including providing a translation service. Are only the people who read a hot news item's original published languages deserving to be informed?

            Well, isn't the point that they're NOT doing these things? If they were, perhaps the suit would not have come up...

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ethicalBob (1023525)

            But what if they weren't just getting their facts from AP stories? What if they also got facts from another hot-news source that had information the AP didn't? Shouldn't they be able to combine the facts from two stories in a new narrative to create a more complete story?

            What you are describing is common and accepted practice for many end-user publications (often a staff-writer for a publication will get multiple versions of the story and write a story from the raw facts. This is especially true of weeklies where a nightly deadline isn't as critical, or a local perspective may be placed on a national or regional breaking news item.

            Time is critical with breaking stories (print deadlines, television air times, etc.) - having a writer gather the same information, confirm t

            • by WNight (23683)

              Is the company misrepresenting themselves as being the original witnesses? Or are they just not pointing that out? AP customers should just say "Straight from AP - faster and more likely to be correct".

              But the success of AP and their business model isn't relevant. It's a free market. If the current model isn't profitable let companies adjust. Nobody promises you you'll have the same job in fifty years, so why should we do that for companies?

              Think about the hassle this law will cause. A whole new type of int

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by artor3 (1344997)

        You have to consider what is best for society. If news is unprotected, then it's in everyone's best interest to copy the facts from another source. It's a prisoner's dilemma, and unfortunately greedy companies ALWAYS choose to defect, which means anyone who isn't a sucker will have to either defect as well (leaving us with no source for news whatsoever) or change the rules of the game (which the AP is trying to do).

        More power to them.

        • by WNight (23683)

          If we're trying to do what's best for society why don't we let the artificial news market die and simply setup an organization like the BBC.

          If it can't be done profitably and yet we all insist on doing it then it sounds like a fit for a co-op, or government project. Not run for profit, but because we think free news is more valuable than some amount of tax money.

          Maybe the AP is bloated. We'd never know if we simply gave them welfare (like our airlines, auto companies, farmers, etc... ugh!) We'll find out th

    • Unethical, yes, but that's policed, to the extent that it is, by professional communities among themselves. If someone proves an important new theorem, and I claim to prove the same theorem the same way the next month, no reputable math journal would publish my plagiarized paper. But if I put a PDF online, I wouldn't be committing a crime, either.

      • by WNight (23683)

        But if you rewrote someone else's findings to be understandable you'd probably get published, if your work was helpful.

  • by fireman sam (662213) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:23PM (#26976513) Homepage Journal

    ... I'm about to be sued by Associated Press for this hot news item. More at 11

  • New Internet Rules (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:24PM (#26976523) Homepage

    If it can be taken, copied, borrowed, whatever - it will be. It is not physically or technically possible to prevent this from happening.

    That means you are left with civil court remedies, which generally take too long to get anywhere and the penalties may be wholly out of line with the benefits. Basically, you can drive your competitors out of a billion-dollary business and get fined a million dollars. Sounds like a great business plan.

    Alternatively, civil court remedies can be wholly out of line the other way, where the benefit to the offender is $1000 and they have to pay a $250,000 fine.

    We have spent the last 20 years educating the population that "borrowing" and "sharing" is good and fine and as long as it is on the Internet nobody is harmed. Can we not understand that this is going to carry over into all walks of life. If it is OK to share music across the planet at home then at work it is going to be OK to share web content, or any other content you can lay your hands on.

    Plagiarism? Sure. But people buy term papers on the Internet all the time, so don't expect they will feel any shame about this sort of activity either.

    • by Geof (153857) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:18PM (#26977077) Homepage

      I just thought I should point that out. Plagiarism is claiming someone else's work as your own. Sharing does not imply plagiarism. The vast majority of copyright infringement is *not* plagiarism.

      One of the foundations of international copyright (and an aspect of it not strongly respected by the United States) is moral rights, including the right of the author to be given credit. I find it ironic that vigorous enforcement of copyright actually creates an incentive for sharers and borrowers to obscure the source or credit of material. This makes their activity harder to detect, and easier for them to defend ("I got this from AP" is kind of a dead giveaway).

      If copyright law was closer to actual social practice, this kind of plagiarism would likely be much less common.

      Personally, I find clear cases of plagiarism to be utterly dishonest and far worse than sharing.

    • by merreborn (853723)

      We have spent the last 20 years educating the population that "borrowing" and "sharing" is good and fine and as long as it is on the Internet nobody is harmed. Can we not understand that this is going to carry over into all walks of life. If it is OK to share music across the planet at home then at work it is going to be OK to share web content, or any other content you can lay your hands on.

      I think even much of the anti-copyright crowd is still against the idea of attempting to profit off someone else's wo

    • Plagiarism? Sure. But people buy term papers on the Internet all the time, so don't expect they will feel any shame about this sort of activity either.

      That seems to be insidious and corrosive though. You better hope that any physician you get had better scruples than that. The same goes to your car mechanic or commercial airline pilot too. You don't want people that should have failed those tests to go on and get employment, which could have devastating consequences.

  • Message (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hao Wu (652581) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:24PM (#26976529) Homepage
    Let us all fight for our quasi-rights while living under this quasi-dictatorship.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:54PM (#26976861) Journal
    As usual, I find that the decisions and writing of Judge Learned Hand to be some of the most insightful. From his extensive writings on free speech (which O.W. Holmes borrowed heavily from), to the present matter:

    from Harvad Law (emphasis mine):

    The Second Circuit was very hostile to INS for many years. Justice Learned Hand agreed with Justices Holmes and Brandeis and was quite overt in getting his colleagues to circumvent INS. An example of this deliberate resistance was Cheney Bros. v. Doris Silk Corp., 35 F.2d 279 (2nd Circ. 1929), involving two competing silk manufacturers. Plaintiff Cheney requested an injunction barring Doris from copying patterns used in dress design during the eight to nine month fashion season. Cheney relied on INS, saying its situation was analogous because the considerable expense involved in designing the patterns couldn't be recouped when the defendant copied the patterns with no similar expenditure and sold them for lower prices. Affirming the District Court's denial of an injunction, Justice Hand noted that because of the short season life of the patterns, design patent protection was impractical and they would likely lack the requisite originality to qualify. Nor did the patterns qualify for copyright protection because they flunked the conceptual separability test. Justice Hand said that, although it seemed unfair to not provide a remedy to Cheney, it was not up to the judicial system to extend a patent- or copyright-like monopoly in the absence of legislation authorizing it.

    But this doesn't really matter anyway, since if you read on in the link I provided, you'll see that federal common law was abolished, so what matters is the specific state law. New York common law establishes strict criteria for the application of the misappropriation doctrine to "hot news" (see National Basketball Ass'n v. Sports Team Analysis & Tracking Systems, Inc. [fmew.com] [warning: site is ugly as sin] for how a recent plaintiff's claim was found to be lacking)... and this seems to meet all of it. It made me chuckle, however, that in that link one of the biggest supporters of the defendant in that case was the AP.

    At any rate, I think we need to have either sweeping federal law specifically creating this property, or we need to have no right to "hot news" as quasi-property. The problem with the latter is then there is no incentive to do fact reporting at all, since it would be impossible to recoup the costs of it. The idealist in me says "Boo to treating information as property" but the realist in me says "Yay to having paid reporters".

    Meanwhile, the cynic in me says "It doesn't matter, we'll only see the news they want us to see", the paranoid in me says "We'll only see the news THEY want us to see", and the dadaist in me says "News? Art.".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615)

      The problem with the latter is then there is no incentive to do fact reporting at all, since it would be impossible to recoup the costs of it.

      No incentive at all? So the fact that most national stories that papers do publish don't generally raise such an issue means nothing to you?

      The incentive is there. Beat the other papers to the scoop, forcing the other papers to follow rather than lead.

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:34PM (#26977161) Journal
        The AP is not a newspaper, it is a newswire. There's a big difference.

        It's common knowledge in news publishing that in-depth reporting is disappearing. There have been reporter layoffs coast-to-coast, and more papers than ever are simply paying their subscriptions to the AP or Reuters or another news service, then copyediting the AP article (and crediting the AP, of course). This alone is severely limiting the quantity of quality news (especially local news).

        However, facts are facts. Since they cannot be copyrighted, this quasi-property status is all that keeps someone from grabbing the facts from the AP Newswire, and reporting on it themselves. This can be done as quickly as someone who is giving attribution to the AP, so the competitive advantage you allow for (which enables the profit) is moot.

        If we work from your example, a publisher protects their profit by use of secrecy. This doesn't work for a newswire, whose very business model depends on others' having access to their reporting.

        In essence, there are two levels of publication -- once by the AP to news outlets, and once by the news outlets to the public. No "hot news" provision means that the AP's customers (the news outlets) don't need to pay the AP, or even attribute stories to them. Thus, the AP can't pay reporters, and we have even fewer reporters to dig up the facts.

        Eventually, all news outlets will be just like the blogosphere, with a dearth of quality reporting, and endless bloglink circle jerks.

        I, for one, appreciate the value of the fourth estate.
        • The component which we will lose is local reporting on remote events. I read The Age [theage.com.au] for news in my region. For everything else I browse google news and select the best source.

          The Age won't get much advantage from sending reporters to the USA. But historically they only did that because I couldn't buy the New York Times in Melbourne.
        • The news still has to be carried by one or more newspapers before the papers that don't subscribe to AP can relay the facts represented in AP news stories. That means the AP gets paid, just as it's been getting paid all this time. The "hot news" doctrine is as about as unnecessary as it is rare, and the AP can survive without it.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          In essence, there are two levels of publication -- once by the AP to news outlets, and once by the news outlets to the public. No "hot news" provision means that the AP's customers (the news outlets) don't need to pay the AP, or even attribute stories to them. Thus, the AP can't pay reporters, and we have even fewer reporters to dig up the facts.

          Actually, given all that you wrote, wouldn't the demise of AP mean there would be more reporters to dig up facts? Because without AP, a newspaper wouldn't have the

          • No, because the papers themselves won't be able to afford to pay reporters.

            The AP is a way for them to cut costs by sharing the expense of reporters. One AP reporter is far more efficient for raw facts than twelve reporters getting the same facts for twelve papers (though, of course, variety and depth suffer -- but that's another discussion).

            Newspaper revenues are tanking, and if the newswires go bye-bye for lack of revenue, news reporting as we've known it is gone forever. Compare the papers today to t
    • At any rate, I think we need to have either sweeping federal law specifically creating this property, or we need to have no right to "hot news" as quasi-property. The problem with the latter is then there is no incentive to do fact reporting at all, since it would be impossible to recoup the costs of it. The idealist in me says "Boo to treating information as property" but the realist in me says "Yay to having paid reporters".

      Why? What convinced you that this is an actual, real, problem that will de

      • Existing common law has validated the need and restrictions on the doctrine of misappropriation wrt "hot news".

        I fail to see why someone such as yourself would dismiss that case law out of hand without reading more about it... instead you sit on your moral high chair and demand that proof be brought to you.

        I have no problem with you being sceptical... but it's intellectually lazy for you to be sceptical but to demand that others address it for you. Instead of placing a burden of proof, why not aim for gr
    • I don't like your two choices. Why not give everyone in America X dollars to appropriate as they see fit to their favorite fact observer(s).

  • Just imagine...

    Massive Asteroid Headed for Earth.

    In other news: AP victorious in pre-publication motion to prevent competitors from carrying asteroid story.

  • by drDugan (219551) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:04PM (#26976961) Homepage

    We have IP for a reason: it helps make social structures work better. As a society, we make a little deal, and that deal is a different in each of the 3 broad categories of IP protection: copyright & trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.

    In the copyright area, the deal works like this: the Content Creator gets a limited time right to exclusively control profits, distribution, performance, derivatives and use of the work they create as a proxy for the "property right" they would normally get to claim if they had created a physical thing. In return for this exclusive control, the Content Creator gets both benefits, but also pays a downside. The benefit is they get to profit and control the results of their efforts. The downside is that after that limited time is over, the information always gets released to the society at large. In the long run, society benefits from this deal in two ways: it promotes the creation of works based on information: digital media, software, literature, music, movies, etc. ...in today's world - most everything relating to media, computers, and electronic art. The second, important benefit is that society gets all the information after the limited time is over. It all becomes public domain.

    Copyright is good, and we need it. Many have argued and manipulated the system to change the amount of time - but that is another story. Many have argued about how much of what one creates can be controlled, and how - and we have fair use cases that cover exactly that.

    So we already have the deal. The deal works (some might argue poorly). I don't see a valid need for another, different deal.

    Just because AP runs a large business and spends money doesn't mean they (or anyone) can cut a new deal. In this case, the whole idea of "hot news" is about controlling very specific, small pieces of information: scores, facts, headlines. In my opinion after a very brief read: the balance between what is good of society and what is good for the Content Creator is not met.

    • I do not understand why people are upset. Paranoia? Here's a nickel, go get some tinfoil :)

      Unpublished news is like unpublished scientific discoveries or product developments. Trade secrets are property of the employer and the employee giving them to anyone else is simple theft and the receiver is at least a receiver of stolen goods, or may be complicit in the theft.

      How can a republisher have any advantage? They have to change the words, most likely reducing accuracy. If they can prepare a prettier p

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:32PM (#26977149)
      We have IP for a reason: it helps make social structures work better. We have only had the legal concept of IP for a few hundred years now. Are you saying social structures didn't work before then? I think the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and many other civilizations too numerous to mention would probably disagree with you on that one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pinckney (1098477)

        We have only had the legal concept of IP for a few hundred years now. Are you saying social structures didn't work before then? I think the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and many other civilizations too numerous to mention would probably disagree with you on that one.

        They also lacked a way to efficiently copy information. IP law, in the form of author's privileges, appeared as early as the 15th century in the west, following the invention of the movable type printing press.

        • IP law, in the form of author's privileges, appeared as early as the 15th century in the west, following the invention of the movable type printing press.

          It looks like [wikipedia.org] it actually started as publisher's privileges:

          Second, Gutenberg's development of movable type and the development and spread of the printing press made mass reproduction of printed works quick and much cheaper than ever before. Before printing, the process of copying a work could be nearly as labor intensive and expensive as creating the original, and was largely relegated to monastic scribes. It appears that publishers, rather than authors, were the first to seek restrictions on the copying o

      • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @09:24PM (#26977561) Homepage Journal

        Sounds strawman-ish. "work better" doesn't have to mean mean things didn't work at all before. Not only that, the landscapes were very different. There wasn't a mass market for prerecorded/preprinted media because it was too expensive. I don't think as big of a proportion of the society worked at creating works of art, books, music, movies either. Before a couple centuries ago, most people's employment was in food production, now, food production employs less than 5% of a modern developed society.

    • Copyright is good, and we need it.

      Has anyone actually shown that overall creative output increased as a result of the adoption of copyright, like the theories say is should have?

      • I would like to see a good study on this as well.
        At least on the surface if you look at employment, a greater percentage of the population is involved in "creative" tasks compared to the past. Historically people were involved in purely labor intensive tasks (eg farming, construction); automation and mass production have rendered these types of tasks obsolete.
    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      Entities should not legally be allowed to own copyrights for living artists' and authors' work.

      the MPAA's member companies should not disallow writers to hold copyrights on their work.

      We should not be legally allowed or able to sign away our rights on the dotted line.

      Copyright was thought up as a way to protect authors' and inventors' work. It was meant as a way to prevent plagiarism and protect the rights of the original creator.

      The whole system has been bastardized and gamed to cut the creators out of th

      • You would destroy the whole idea of "works for hire."
        Most creative works are not the result of one person; it takes a large number of people, if each retained the copyright for their portion you would create a bigger legal mess.
        People should be allow to sign away their copyright. It's a fair exchange where they get a firm return and not deal with the risk if their product is a commercial failure. The **AA doesn't go to the artist and ask for millions of dollars if their song/movie bombs.
    • by bit01 (644603)

      Copyright is good, and we need it.

      Oh, wonderful. Propaganda without numerical evidence being asserted for the zillionth time. Your scientific evidence for this practically neanderthal spam is?

      Perhaps the benefit of allowing billions of people to share outweighs the dubious benefit of allowing very small numbers of people to profit. In a society of billions it is a statistical certainty that millions will want to create for reasons other than what the copyright monopoly gives and that may be a net win.

      I ge

    • by Clovis42 (1229086)

      Copyright is good, and we need it. Many have argued and manipulated the system to change the amount of time - but that is another story.

      When copyright is perpetually extended, the manipulation of the system is the main story. Nothing created after 1920 will ever enter the publice domain again unless the creator releases it. Copyright is now a legal instrument for a small number of people to control all of our culture.

      Many have argued about how much of what one creates can be controlled, and how - and we h

  • "we won't link to it."

    I know you are making a joke, but we shouldn't participate in this bullshit by limiting what we publish [ap.org].

  • by DustyShadow (691635) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:54PM (#26977309) Homepage
    When all else fails, sue everyone!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lavaface (685630)
      This is a knee-jerk response to a real problem. Let me explain what is happening here:
      The Associated Press is a not-for-profit organization comprised of hundreds of newspapers and television stations around the world. Members of the cooperative pay to subscribe to news that they would ordinarily not be able to cover because of limited resources. They also contribute their own resources to the wire service. If there is a tornado in some small town in Kansas, the AP will "pick up" the story from the local n
  • ...legislate from the bench.

    Seriously, where's the statutory basis for this new property right? Or did they pull all of this stuff directly out of their ass?

    • by russotto (537200)

      Seriously, where's the statutory basis for this new property right? Or did they pull all of this stuff directly out of their ass?

      It's common law. Which is a fancy way of saying the latter.

    • My thought, too. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I think all this legislating from the bench is a consequence of the USA's senate, with its different composition from the house and procedural ugliness (fillibusters, senators anonymously delaying legislation, etc), and the president's veto power. Legislation is so hard to pass, that there has over time grown more acceptance towards judges pulling these sorts of stunts.

      I do not think it would likely have been accepted in most other western states. If a judge made such a ru

  • ...and when its in, I'll read all about it in the,....er,.....um.....

    Well, maybe not.

  • I've put a copy of the decision [beckermanlegal.com] (PDF) online.

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