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Copyfight
March 25, 2004
Copying Newspaper HeadlinesEmail This EntryPrint This Entry
Posted by Wendy Seltzer

Ernie does a fair use analysis of the copying of headlines (below) -- an issue of more than passing interest to bloggers and blog search tools that routinely copy headlines or extract them from RSS feeds (as the Trademark Blog picks up). Defenses of implied license for some uses aside, I think the headline republishers have a stronger case than Ernie credits, because copyright does not protect titles, short words, and phrases (see Copyright Office Circular 34). Thanks to that exclusion, librarians don't have to rely on fair use to list books in card catalogues or their online equivalents, and others than copyright holders can prepare indexes directing readers where to find more information. If the subject matter is unprotectable or only slightly protected in the first place, or if the use is "transformative" -- indexing rather than publishing articles, the "effect on the market" is less important.


Category: Counterpoint

COMMENTS
Ernest Miller on March 29, 2004 11:44 AM writes...

I discuss this issue in the comments to my original article below:
http://www.corante.com/copyfight/archives/002654.html#comments

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Wendy on March 29, 2004 11:52 AM writes...

...and I still disagree. The reason titles are given less protection isn't (just) that they're considered short or uncreative, but also because a market for copyrighted works can't exist without free ways to describe the works. I may share Ernie's cynicism about courts and copyright, but I don't think bloggers need be chilled by this line of reasoning.

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Ernest Miller on March 29, 2004 12:02 PM writes...

Bloggers are differently situated. Generally, they aren't stripping headlines for a portal site. They aren't using headlines for commercial use. If they are using the headlines for commerical use, they are stripping the headlines from various sites and creating mini-indexes on particular subjects. They are probably also mixing the headlines with some short commentary, even if only a sentence or two. If are simply using headlines from a single publication, they are probably using RSS (which would raise an implied license defense).

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TRACKBACKS
TrackBack URL: http://www.corante.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1872
Last week I wrote a piece about copyright and headlines (Copyrighting Newspaper Headlines?). Be sure to read the excellent comments of Fred from The Dead Parrot Society. Co-Copyfigher Wendy Seltzer responds to my post here: Copying Newspaper Headlines.... [Read More]

Tracked on March 29, 2004 12:54 PM

There has been a lot of discussion of headlines and copyright this past week on Copyfight. See, Copyrighting Headlines and Bloggers, Copying Newspaper Headlines and Copyrighting Newspaper Headlines?. Now, we hear from the horse's mouth what a major wir... [Read More]

Tracked on March 30, 2004 11:51 AM




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