Feeds

EU court rules 11-word snippets can violate copyright

AP cackles with glee

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.