Cyber Law + Tech: March 27, 2013

How much of an article or news report can an aggregator or clipping service copy under fair use? There’s no precise answer, but under the recent Meltwater ruling from a federal district court in the Southern District of New York, the answer in some cases may be “not much”. At AP wins big: Why a Court Said Clipping Content is Not Fair Use. The defendant Meltwater monitored the internett and ran a clipping service for its clients, sending newsletter alerts to its clients about articles in which they appeared. Meltwater included the relevant headline, lede and sentences in which keywords relevant to the client appeared. Key to the court’s decision was that Meltwater, by copying the headlines and ledes acted as a substitute to the underlying articles, rather than driving readers to the original article as a search engine might. As noted by PaidContent: “Cote’s rejection of Meltwater’s search engine argument was based in part on the ‘click-through’ rate of its stories. Whereas Google News users clicked through to 56 percent of excerpted stories, the equivalent rate for Meltwater was 0.08 percent …” The impact of the ruling outside the federal courts Second Circuit is unclear, but the result should be troubling for companies that scrape significant amounts of content from other sites in reliance on “fair use”.

The EFF’s critical take on the decision. The court’s decision (pdf).

FBI 2013 priority: obtaining new powers to surveil internet and cloud services in real time (Slate).

At ArsTechnica, news of new data transmission research: Fiber cables made of air move data at 99.7 percent the speed of light

TechDirt: Court Tosses Lawsuit That Said MMS Was An Illegal File Sharing Network”