The complaint in AFP v. Google is posted here. Thank you Marquette. Initial observations – there are 3 copyright claims, one for the headlines, one for the photos and one for the story leads. There is also an allegation that Google removed ‘copyright management information’ (see para 73). There is no ‘hot news misappropriation’ claim.
A few random observations: this is an interesting case to bring in the age of RSS. AFP’s competitors, such as Reuters and Marketwatch, make their headlines available through RSS. AFP’s cause with respect to leads alleges that the lead is the heart of the story (and therefore copying the lead constitues a substantial taking). Do any major wire services make full text or blurbs available through RSS (I note that Reuters’ feed is a truncated first sentence)? A headline link on Google news can actually increase traffic for the content creator. Does reading the lead remove the need to go to the original?
This is also interesting as to whether ‘technological’ self-help will come into play. I’ve read conflicting accounts as to whether AFP could have prevented indexing of its headlines. Also, Google has been quoted as saying that publishers can opt out (I could not find info on how to opt out on the Google News FAQs.
Same question that got asked re Google Auto-Link: On whom should the burden of opting out be?