News Corp starts sending out the writs

In what we suspect is an early shot of many, News Corp's Dow Jones has sued a site called Briefing.com claiming "hot news misappropriation".

Dow Jones accused the site of "piracy" in its complaint to a federal court in New York yesterday."

"By instantaneously cutting and pasting into their own products the reports of news events uncovered and verified by other news outlets at significant investment and expense, they offer a pirated product at a cheaper cost," the complaint complains.

Briefing.com even publishes stories from Dow Jones before they appear on the Wall Street Journal's site. And it has the audacity to charge for access to this content, according to the suit. Dow Jones claims Briefing.com copied bits from more than 100 articles and at least 70 headlines within a two-week period. It said the site often publishes the stories within three minutes of their appearance on Dow Jones Newswires.

"Briefing.com has been free-riding on Dow Jones' substantial investments in gathering and reporting timely news," Dow Jones said in the complaint. The company wants damages and an order for Briefing.com to cease and desist from violating copyright.

The move backs up News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch's assault on the likes of Google which he claims earns a fortune by poncing off the back off others that do the hard work - like the poor underpaid overworked hacks working for the Sunday Times.

He's erecting paywalls around News International sites as soon as he can scrabble together enough virtual mortar and wants other publishers to do the same.