NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled for The Associated Press on Wednesday in its lawsuit challenging the use of story excerpts by Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc. and its Meltwater News Service.
The AP sued the company, which monitors the media for corporate customers, last year, alleging that it copies AP content and sells it to clients without paying AP licensing fees.
"This ruling makes it crystal clear that Meltwater wrongly used news content from AP to create its own content, while paying none of the costs associated with creating original news content," said Gary Pruitt, APs president and CEO.
"This is an important ruling for AP and others in the news business who work so hard to provide high-quality original news reports on which the public relies," Pruitt said.
Lawyers for the San Francisco-based Meltwater News did not immediately comment. The company is a 12-year-old electronic news clipping service that helps its clients monitor how they are covered in the press.
In its lawsuit, the AP alleged that Meltwater News had been pilfering current and past material from the AP and other news providers. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote announced her decision in the case Wednesday, but its details were not immediately released publicly. She said in an order that the AP's request for a decision in its favor before any trial had been granted, "with one exception" that she did not specify.
Cote said she would release the ruling publicly after lawyers notified her Thursday whether they believe anything needed to be redacted.
In court papers, the AP argued that Meltwater paid nothing for its distribution of hundreds of thousands of excerpts of AP articles each year, a process it said was designed to serve as a substitute for AP stories. It said Meltwater "directly exploits and profits from the sale of AP content."