Feeds

EU court rules 11-word snippets can violate copyright

AP cackles with glee

The Power of One Infographic

Amidst angry howls by the Associated Press over the internet CTRL C-ing its stories, Europe's highest court has whittled the line of potential copyright infringement down to just 11 little words.

The bar was set by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) this month in a legal dispute between the Danish media monitoring firm Infopaq and the country's newspaper industry body, Danske Dagblades Forening (DDF).

Infopaq would scan various newspapers using image-to-text software then process the files to identify certain keywords its clients wanted tracked. If such a keyword was found in the story, that word along with five words on either side were captured.

The company would then send its clients a report containing the captured snippets and information on where they were obtained.

Infopaq disputed a claim that the process requires consent from rightholders by taking DDF to court. It requested the organization be forced to declare its reproductions were peaches and cream under the EU Copyright Directive, which makes exceptions for "transient" or incidental copying.

But a court dismissal, appeal, and passing-along-to-the-ECJ later, and Infopaq's arse-covering action was shot down.

The high court ruled that although the original text file was deleted, as soon as Infopaq put the 11 words unto paper it was a potential copyright violation.

From the decision:

...the possibility may not be ruled out that certain isolated sentences, or even parts of sentences in the text in question, may be suitable for conveying to the reader the originality of a publication such as a newspaper or article, by communicating to that reader an element which is, in itself, the expression of the intellectual creation of the author of that article.

In other words, the program might catch the good bits that make a newspaper article worthy of copyright protection. But the ECJ said it's up to national courts to decide if any particular article is "original in the sense that they are their author's own intellectual creation" and thus protected by copyright.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press has been pushing the boundaries of fair use to go after websites that lift as few as 33 words. It would appear the AP now has some precedent to attack so long as it can convince national courts its stories qualify for protection. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.