Dow Jones & Co., which owns the Wall Street Journal, has sued an audio news service known as a “squawker” for $5 million.
Dow Jones alleges that RANsquawk, based in the United Kingdom, is hurting Dow Jones’s business by reading Wall Street Journal “hot news” headlines and other content to subscribers seconds after the material is published by Dow Jones.
RANsquawk claims that “8/10 of the world’s largest banks” use its service.
Dow Jones operates its own newswire service providing “real time” news to its subscribers. Its customers include investors and others involved in industries where breaking news moves markets and drives business decisions.
Dow Jones’s premier product is called Dow Jones Dominant (DJX), which provides scrolling headlines.
According to the Dow Jones complaint against Real-Time Analysis & News Ltd., which runs RANsquawk,
By nearly instantaneously cutting, pasting and broadcasting via their own channels the reports of news events that others have uncovered and verified at significant investment and expense, these free-riders offer a pirated product at a cheaper price.
RANsquawk does not credit Dow Jones as the source of the news it reports. A copyright law firm representing RANsquawk previously denied that its client used material directly from DJX. The law firm claimed that its client obtained material from instant messages, Twitter, and other sources.
US copyright law protects “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” Although the particular words used to report a news story may constitute a “work of authorship,” the facts are not protected by copyright law and may be reported by others in different ways.