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Associated Press sues All Headline News Corp.

Newsletter and specialized-information publishers should be on the alert for the type of copyright infringement that the Associated Press is accusing All Headline News Corp. of doing.

On January 14, 2008, the AP sued AHN, saying it copied and rewrote AP articles and distributed them on the internet. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from AHN Media Corp. and All Headline News Corp. and an end to the appropriation of AP copyright-protected stories.

The AP claims that AHN Media Corp., Wellington, Florida, copies AP stories from websites that legitimately carry them and redistributes them on its website and as a service it sells to other news outlets, competing for AP's customers.

"AHN calls itself a 'news service,'" the lawsuit says. "However, on information and belief, AHN has no reporters and is simply a vehicle for copying news reports and misappropriating news gathered and reported by real news services such as AP."

AHN employees delete any traces to AP, it's alleged

The lawsuit says that AHN employees delete information that identifies the material as AP stories, such as writers' bylines and the "(AP)" stamp, before distributing it online.

Because AHN has no reporters and fewer employees than AP, who are poorly paid, the lawsuit claims, "defendants are able to offer their 'news service' to customers and potential customers at a price that is far lower than the AP can offer for its services."

AHN and AP entered into a contract in 2003 that gave AHN the right to distribute the first two paragraphs of news stories offered as part of the AP Online service, the lawsuit says. AP cut the contract in 2005 because AHN repeatedly used more content than the contract permitted, the lawsuit says.

Review your own contracts

That last sentence reminds us that some newsletter publishers have found "redistributors" selling more of their content than the contracts permit. Check search engines periodically to see where your content is appearing.

This article was excerpted from an Associated Press story appearing in Editor & Publisher online January 15, 2008.
COPYRIGHT 2008 The Newsletter on Newsletters LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Feb 21, 2008
Words:337
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