Friday, 1 August 2014

Court says Westlaw, Lexis use of lawyer's briefs not copyright infringement

The White v. West Publishing Company and Reed Elsevier case (S.D.N.Y, available online) begins: "On February 22, 2012, plaintiffs Edward L. White, Edward L. White, P.C., and Kenneth Elan filed a putative class action alleging copyright infringement against defendants West Publishing Corp. ("West") and Reed Elsevier, Inc. ("Lexis")." The plaintiffs were claiming that their legal briefs' inclusion in the Lexis and Westlaw databases was copyright infringement. However, District Judge Rakoff ruled that the use of the briefs by West and Lexis is fair use. Both companies transform the documents to a different purpose and use according to the Judge’s analysis: West and Lexis’s processes of reviewing, selecting, converting, coding, linking, and identifying the documents “add.. something new, with a further purpose or different character.” 

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