3 Count: Hookah Me Up

3 Count: Hookah Me Up Image

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1: A Century-Old Legal Doctrine Could Underpin a Very 21st-Century Copyright Dispute

First off today, John McDuling at Quartz reports that News Corp’s Dow Jones Division, which publishes both the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, has sued Real-Time Analysis & News Ltd., more commonly known as Ransquawk.

At issue Dow Jones’ new information portal, DIX, which releases exclusives from the Wall Street Journal before they appear to the public. Ransquawk is a broadcasting service that provies breaking news updates via audio and text and has been sending out DIX’s exclusives to its subscribers, often before they appear to the public elsewhere.

Dow Jones is suing for alleged violations of the “hot news” provision. First established in 1918, the “hot news” provision allows very limited protection of facts gathered at expense. Ransquawk, however, denies the claims saying they get their information from their own sources, including Twitter, investment banks and other financial institutions.

2: Viewing Pirated Streams is Not Illegal, German Govt Says

Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the German Ministry of Justice has said that, in its view, the viewing of copyright infringing streams is not, in and of itself, illegal in the country.

The statement comes after some 10,000 Internet users in Germany were sent threatening letters of alleged infringement by watching infringing material on RedTube, a YouTube-like site for pornography. Though it’s unclear how the law firm who sent the letters obtained the IP addresses, it raised a great deal of legal questions about the legality of streaming in Germany.

The final decision on the matter is left up to the European Court, however, the statement is a strong statement of support for the legality of viewing illegal streams in the country.

3: Dude, You Can’t Copyright That Hookah

Finally today, David Kravets at Wired reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Inhale, a hookah pipe maker who had tried to sue a rival, Starbuzz Tobacco, that allegedly copied their design for a base.

The court ruled that the base was a “useful article” and did not qualify for protection under the law. As such the court upheld the lower court decision and also upheld an award of $112,000 in legal fees to Starbuzz plus additional fees for defending against the appeal.

The decision is seen as having serious impacts for the burgeoning 3D printing marketplace, where articles, like hookah bases, can be printed easily and cheaply.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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