American Educational Research Association, Inc. v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

February 11, 2016

Education associations brought an action in federal court in D.C. for injunctive relief against Public.Resource.Org ("Public Resource") for copyright infringement after Public Resource posted a copy of the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (“1999 Standards”) on its website. The Reporters Committee filed an amicus brief in Public Resource\'s favor on February 11, 2016. In the brief, the Reporters Committee argued that copyright law should not be used to restrict access to "the law." Doing so hinders journalists' ability to inform the public about important laws that affect many aspects of American life. Additionally, the Reporters Committee argued that the public and news media have a First Amendment right to communicate the contents of the 1999 Standards -- a right that copyright law cannot be used to overcome because the standards constitute an "idea," a category of information copyright law does not protect.

American Society for Testing and Materials v. Public.Resource.Org

January 11, 2016

ASTM and other standard development organizations sued for copyright infringement after the web site posted standards that had been incorporated into state and federal laws, but were copyrighted and developed by the plaintiffs. In an amicus brief in support of dismissal of the claim before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the Reporters Committee argued that the practice of charging citizens to view standards incorporated by reference raised First Amendment concerns, and that the First Amendment’s structural role in promoting informed debate and the news media’s ability to check governmental power is limited when access to such information is restricted.

"Dancing Baby" decision on fair use considerations may help and hurt journalists

Jennevieve Fong | Content Regulation | News | September 30, 2015
September 30, 2015

The recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) to require copyright owners to consider "fair uses" of their work before requesting takedowns may be a double-edged sword for journalists and bloggers who work with online content.

Nine months and counting: the injunction in Garcia v. Google continues to violate the First Amendment

Hannah Bloch-Wehba | Prior Restraints | Commentary | December 3, 2014
December 3, 2014

On December 15, the Ninth Circuit will rehear oral argument in a case that has odd facts and has made terrible law. In Garcia v. Google, a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit issued a broad mandatory injunction compelling Google to remove and take measures to prevent the publication of a controversial video—all based on a novel copyright theory. The injunction was issued in February. In March, the U.S. Copyright Office rejected the plaintiff’s attempt to register her asserted copyright. Yet despite the plaintiff’s exceedingly attenuated copyright interest, the injunction continues to be in force almost a year later, restraining Google from publishing the video.

Garcia v. Google

April 11, 2014

The Reporters Committee joined a media coalition amicus brief in a case ordering Google to take down a You-Tube video, the "Innocence of Muslims" movie, based on an actress's copyright claim in her brief appearance. The brief supports Google's petition to the Ninth Circuit to rehear the decision of a panel that ordered the take-down and then required Google to keep the order secret.

Judge rules news clipping service infringed Associated Press' copyright

Lilly Chapa | Content Regulation | News | March 22, 2013
March 22, 2013

Online news aggregation websites that compile and resell news stories without the publisher's permission are committing copyright infringement and are not protected under the fair use doctrine, a New York judge ruled.

Federal appeals court rules against magazine that published copyrighted secret celebrity wedding photos

Amanda Simmons | Content Regulation | News | August 17, 2012
August 17, 2012

A federal appellate court ruled that a Spanish-language gossip magazine violated the copyrights of a celebrity couple by publishing private photographs of their secret wedding in a case that according to the court “reads like a telenovela."

Website with links to infringing videos does not violate copyright laws, court rules

Amanda Simmons | Content Regulation | News | August 3, 2012
August 3, 2012

A social media website on which users have provided links to copyrighted videos from third-party servers has not itself violated copyright laws, a federal court ruled yesterday.

Although the case involves copyright claims for adult entertainment videos originally made by Flava Works, a gay pornography production company, the court’s ruling could also affect online news publishers that embed or link to other kinds of copied content.

Federal court finds Bloomberg's publication of copyrighted conference call recording to be fair use

Raymond Baldino | Content Regulation | News | May 22, 2012
May 22, 2012

A federal court last week rejected a copyright infringement lawsuit against Bloomberg L.P. for its unauthorized publication of a conference call between a corporation's senior executives and a group of securities analysts, finding that the business and financial news publisher was protected from liability by the fair use doctrine.

Attorneys sue legal databases for copyright infringement

Haley Behre | Content Regulation | Feature | February 24, 2012
February 24, 2012

Two lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit against Westlaw and LexisNexis, alleging that the popular online databases have violated federal copyright laws by posting materials written by attorneys on their databases without that attorney or law firm’s permission.