UK High Court Ruling Implies Headlines Are Copyright

by Stephan Kinsella on November 27, 2010

Interesting post on TechCrunch:

UK High Court Ruling Implies Headlines Are Copyright. Not a Good Idea.

The UK’s High Court has ruled thatnews monitoring agencies will have to pay publishing companies to use their web content, effectively re-classifying headlines as separate literary works subject to copyright.

The moves follows a legal battle between the Newspaper Licensing Agency, owned by eight of the UK’s largest newspaper groups, and Meltwater, a news monitoring agency. Meltwater plans to appeal against the decision, but if it’s upheld, you can expect a wave of more legal actions, claims that links are copyright and the break down of the UK’s internet industry. Well done High Court. …

The ruling is of interest because titles (of books, movies, etc.) are typically regarded as being too short to receive copyright protection. But it’s not surprise; lobbying for IP expansion is incessant. See, e.g., German Publishers Want Monopoly On Sentences (in Germany, newspaper publishers are lobbying for ‘a new exclusive right conferring the power to monopolize speech e.g. by assigning a right to re-use a particular wording in the headline of a news article anywhere else without the permission of the rights holder).

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