The Associated Press has sued Moreover Technologies (owned by VeriSign), asking a federal court to stop the two companies from accessing and publishing AP’s news reports online “without permission and infringing on the news organization’s copyrights and trademarks”. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today, seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction. AP said the company failed to comply with the directives in a Sept. 11 cease-and-desist letter.
Moreover is a headline/news aggregation service which was bought by Verisign two years ago, and there have been rumors that the company may now be looking to divest the service, as Verisign reorganizes itself under new CEO.
The lawsuit says: “Defendant are reproducing, publicly displaying, caching and archiving AP’s articles on Defendant’s service without AP’s permission.”
AP’s own story: Copyright law does permit limited reproduction under “fair use” provisions, but Srinandan Kasi, AP’s VP and general counsel said Moreover’s activities do not qualify because, among other things, they merely copy AP’s headlines and offer no transformative value. Courts do give defendants leeway when copyright material is transformed into a new work or expression, such as parody.
The lawsuit and the evidence from AP is below in two PDF documents: (RSS readers will have to click through).