weather icon Clear

‘Who steals my purse steals trash …’

That early 20th century lawsuit over the practice of stealing someone’s investment in producing “hot news” now has a 21st century companion.

In 1918 the Supreme Court ruled that The Associated Press had a property right to the news it spent money producing only to be ripped off by a competing service calling itself International News Service, which was rewriting AP stories from early copies of newspapers and selling the news stories in competition with the AP.

Now, Barclays Capital, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are suing a website called Theflyonthewall.com for stealing its time-sensitive information about the stock market and distributing it for a fee in competition with their fee-supported service.

According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the current state of the law is such that the hot news doctrine applies if a person or company “generates or gathers time-sensitive information at a cost; the defendant’s use of the information constitutes free-riding; the defendant is in direct competition with the plaintiff’s product or service; and that if others could also free-ride on the plaintiff’s efforts, the plaintiff’s incentive to produce the product or service would be substantially threatened.”

The case may be heard by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer.

There might a few people in Southern Nevada who should pay heed, because they have been stealing costly Review-Journal “hot news” and selling it to their own customers. The problem for us may be that “substantially threatened” clause since the thief is insignificant.

The problem today that perhaps needs to be addressed, in addition to those who sell purloined news, is those who rip it off and aggregate it on advertising-supported websites in competition with the originators’ ad-funded websites.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
US held nearly 70K migrant children in custody in 2019

The nearly 70,000 migrant children who were held in government custody this year — up 42 percent in fiscal year 2019 from 2018 — spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in prior years.

Carter, 95, recovering after surgery to relieve pressure on brain

Jimmy Carter’s spokeswoman says the former president is recovering at Emory University Hospital following surgery to relieve pressure from bleeding on his brain.

Justices allow Sandy Hook shooting lawsuit about rifle go forward

The Supreme Court said Tuesday a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people.

Supreme Court’s conservatives seem to back Trump on DACA

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems prepared to allow the Trump administration to end a program that allows some immigrants to work legally in the U.S. and protects them from deportation.

Catastrophic fire warning in Sydney as wildfires ravage Australia

New South Wales state is under a weeklong state of emergency, a declaration that gives the Rural Fire Service powers to control resources and direct other agencies in its efforts to battle fires.