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Copyright Law

Judge tosses suit against West and LexisNexis for reproducing lawyer briefs

Posted Feb 21, 2013 2:23 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge in Manhattan has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Westlaw and LexisNexis were violating copyright law by reproducing lawyers’ briefs and documents.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff granted summary judgment to the legal publishers Feb. 8, the New York Law Journal and Reuters report . The suit was filed by Oklahoma lawyer Edward White, who had obtained copyrights on 22 of his legal documents.

Westlaw and Lexis had contended they were entitled to use the documents under the fair use doctrine, according to the Reuters account. They pointed out that the briefs were published by Pacer, which is accessible to the public. The publishers also said their use of the documents was “transformative” because they enhanced them for their searchable databases.

A second plaintiff who did not have copyrights on his documents was dismissed from the suit last May.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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