News agency Associated Press (AP) is suing Verisign over that company's unlicensed use of AP news stories. The suit relates to Verisign-owned news aggregation site Moreover.
Moreover is a news publishing service designed to bring news to users very quickly after the news is published. It operates free to use and subscription services.
AP said that it had sent letters to Moreover asking it to stop using its material, but that they were ignored, forcing it into legal action. The suit has been filed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The case seeks unspecified damages against Moreover and an injunction stopping it from using AP material. It claims both copyright and trade mark infringement.
"The Associated Press spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year gathering and reporting the news, providing original coverage of vital breaking news that cannot be obtained anywhere else," said Tom Curley, chief executive of AP. "We've done this for more than 160 years, often under tremendous time pressure and often at great risk to our journalists. When someone uses our content without our permission, they are free riding on our newsgathering and our reporting of news from around the world."
The case has parallels in Europe, where newspapers have been taking legal action against news aggregator Google News over its use of headlines and the beginnings of news stories in its service.
"As part of its policy of enforcing its intellectual property rights, AP maintains an active licensing program across content platforms and media types," said AP general counsel Srinandan Kasi. "Thousands of publishers, corporations, educational institutions, governmental bodies and other organizations, large and small, have been and are active licensees of AP content, in some cases continuously over several decades."
The suit says that Moreover is "reproducing, publicly displaying, caching and archiving AP's articles on defendants' services without AP's permission," according to Reuters news agency.
AP is a co-operative, not for profit association of newspapers and broadcasters.