29
Jun/09

Wading Into the Posner/Hot News/Linking Brouhaha


Judge Posner started the discussion with this blog post which concludes:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.


TechDirt criticized the conclusion
, as did Jeff Jarvis.
Then Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, wrote “Tighter Copyright Law Could Save Newspapers,” proposing a 24 hour window of ‘hot news exclusivity,’ which Jarvis critiqued and Schultz responded.
I’m not an expert on the ills of the newspaper industry but it seems to me if Craigslist is the problem, why is copyright law and hot news doctrine the solution? If someone has a good cause of action under copyright law or ‘hot news’ misappropriation, by all means, bring it, but really – - -
. . . if the cost of a Kindle is less than the cost of printing a hard copy edition of a newspaper over a year . . .
and the newspapers aren’t rapidly exploring handing out Kindles with the purchase of a subscription, then is it appropriate for the law be amended to hamper the dissemination of news?
Maybe hot news doctrine has to be re-evauated in the era of Twitter, but I can’t read a headline like “Tighter copyright law could save the newspapers” without hearing Bill Patry shouting in my ear that the principal function of IP law these days is to preserve failed business models.