Wainwright Securities v. Wall Street Transcript Corp., 558 F.2d 91 (1977) p136
Copyrightable material - facts (abstract from newspaper story)
An order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Morris E. Lasker, J., preliminarily enjoined defendants from publishing abstracts of the plaintiff's financial research reports, and the defendants appealed.
Holding of lower court was affirmed.
Whether a news story is copyrightable.
News events themselves are not copyrightable, but the way you express them is copyrightable.
The Court of Appeals, Mishler, District Judge, held that where defendants appropriated
almost verbatim the most creative and original aspects of plaintiff's copyrighted analytical research reports on industrial, financial, utility and railroad corporations, including financial analyses and predictions, representing substantial investment of time, money and labor, and where use of the reports was blatantly self-serving, with the obvious intent, if not effect, of fulfilling the demand for the original work, there was not "fair use" nor use implicating First Amendment interests but rather copyright infringement.
When there is sufficient originality in interpretation of news event, the story is copyrightable. Where reports were copyrighted and no permission had been given for publication of reports in abstract form, critical question in determining existence of prima facie case of infringement of copyright was whether publication complained of made "fair use" of the reports. News events may not be copyrighted, but in considering copyright protections due report of news events or factual developments, there must be differentiation between substance of information contained in report, i. e., event itself, and particular form or collocation of words in which writer has communicated it.