Prof Goldman: Newspaper Obituaries Aren’t Hot News:
The Scranton Times is suing the Wilkes-Barre newspaper for republishing obituary notices in its Scranton edition that were initially published in the Scranton Times. But the Scranton Times has a problem–funeral homes typically write and submit the obituary notices, so the Scranton Times has no copyright interest in the notices
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The most interesting discussion relates to the hot news misappropriation doctrine . . . Here, the court says that the obituary notices fail to qualify as hot news, and therefore the misappropriation claim is preempted by copyright law.