The Associated Press and AHN Media have agreed to settle an intellectual property lawsuit filed by the wire service in early 2008. In the settlement, announced in a joint statement, AHN agrees to pay an “undisclosed” sum, admits to some improper use of AP content and — the part that may wind up helping AP most — “acknowledge the tort of ‘hot news misappropriation’ has been upheld by other courts and was ruled applicable in this case.”
The agreement, which resulted in the case being dismissed June 15, gives AP the chance to claim a win, even if it doesn’t add anything legally to the “hot news” argument it uses to argue its rights.
The notion of treating breaking news or “hot news” differently in terms of intellectual property dates back to a 1918 U.S. Supreme Court decision in AP’s favor when Hearst’s International News Service picked up and rewrote its WWI news. The court held that “hot news” was the