Fox News is winning more than just the news network ratings wars. It’s also winning the battle against copyright’s fair use doctrine.
In August, a federal judge sided (PDF) with the news station’s copyright-infringement lawsuit against a television and radio clipping service known as TVEyes, which charges as much as $500 a month for its service. A New York federal judge ruled that wanton sharing, time searching, and downloading of Fox News’ news segments is not fair use. Then in November, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled TVEyes could not allow its clients—like the White House, American Red Cross, members of Congress, and others—to download Fox News clips. The judge also ordered TVEyes to block users from searching Fox News clips and from allowing them to share them on social media.
TVEyes shall implement a blocking feature that will prevent links to FNC or FBN clips stored on any servers owned or leased by TVEyes from playing when they are accessed from links posted to the major social sharing services on the internet. TVEyes will also block plays linked from domain names associated with the blocked sites (such as “url shorteners”) to ensure that its list of blocked domains remains comprehensive. Examples of such social media sites include: twitter.com; t.co (Twitter’s URL shortener); facebook.com; fb.me (Facebook’s URL shortener); linkedin.com; pinterest.com; plus.google.com; tumblr.com; vine.co; snapchat.com; hubs.ly (Hubspot, a social media posting system); bit.ly (Bitly, a social media posting system); buff.ly (Buffer, a social media posting system); and reddit.com.”
Fox News is seeking unspecified damages in the case, too, at a trial. But on Monday, TVEyes and Fox News temporarily set aside their differences and agreed to allow the appellate courts to review Hellerstein’s decisions. The judge’s orders were to take effect on December 14, but the agreement indefinitely delays implementation pending the outcome of the case before the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals. That’s the same appeals court that ruled in October that it’s legal to scan books even if you don’t own the copyright.
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