Meltwater News sued by AP for copyright

By Maria Torres

The Associated Press has sued Meltwater News, a news aggregator that charges subscribers for its services, for copyright infringement.

Meltwater makes its business by allowing users to monitor the news. Users search for keywords and Meltwater provides excerpts of news stories from various sources (most distinctly, the AP) that match the search. The excerpts are so substantial that the users hardly need to click through the links in order to grasp the gist of the news, according to the filed lawsuit. As a result, Meltwater has “stolen” clients from the AP.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the AP offered its news stories to news organizations for free — but it just so happens that it doesn’t. The AP licenses organizations who pay for the AP’s services so that they may use the AP’s original journalism in their own newspapers, magazines, websites, etc. With credit to the AP, of course.

But Meltwater found a way around paying for AP services long ago by lifting excerpts from those paying organizations, oftentimes without citing the AP at all. While the AP has to worry about paying its reporters and creating content and running an organization that exists solely to provide news, Meltwater has to worry about posting excerpts and paying for servers. The rest of the money they make from their subscriber fees doesn’t even go toward their own efforts to report the news — they don’t dabble in original content.

So not only is Meltwater stealing the AP’s business, it’s not even crediting the AP with the excerpts it displays.

Copyright may be what the AP is suing Meltwater for, but is there something else here as well?


2 Comments on “Meltwater News sued by AP for copyright”

  1. kes91 says:

    If you read Meltwater’s response to AP’s action, they state that they have respected all copyrights and are within their rights to use all this information provided by AP. I’m unsure as to whether that is true or not. Since it is having a blatant negative effect on the AP, it’s clear to me why they feel they need to take action. In the end, the information cannot be provided to the public without sufficient financial support. Of course the ones shoveling out the money for news gathering are disgruntled when they’re losing paying clients. And if these are literal verbatim excerpts from the AP’s works, how can Meltwater be within the Copyright Laws? Are they attributing all this information back to its original source? We’ll have to pay attention to see how this one pans out.

  2. Mark says:

    As a user of Meltwater, I can say you’ve completely misrepresented what Meltwater does, which is deliver readers to AP sites. There is no archiving of content, there are no excerpts, just the headline linking to the originating site. That’s how the internet works.

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