New York Times Co. v. Tasini, 533 U.S. 483 (2001)

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NEW YORK TIMES CO., INC., et al. v. TASINI et al.

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the second circuit

No. 00-201. Argued March 28, 2001—Decided June 25, 2001

Respondent freelance authors (Authors) wrote articles (Articles) for newspapers and a magazine published by petitioners New York Times Company (Times), Newsday, Inc. (Newsday), and Time, Inc. (Time). The Times, Newsday, and Time (Print Publishers) engaged the Authors as independent contractors under contracts that in no instance secured an Author's consent to placement of an Article in an electronic database. The Print Publishers each licensed rights to copy and sell articles to petitioner LEXIS/NEXIS, owner and operator of NEXIS. NEXIS is a computerized database containing articles in text-only format from hundreds of periodicals spanning many years. Subscribers access NEXIS through a computer, may search for articles using criteria such as author and subject, and may view, print, or download each article yielded by the search. An article's display identifies its original print publication, date, section, initial page number, title, and author, but each article appears in isolation—without visible link to other stories originally published in the same periodical edition. NEXIS does not reproduce the print publication's formatting features such as headline size and page placement. The Times also has licensing agreements with petitioner University Microfilms International (UMI), authorizing reproduction of Times materials on two CD-ROM products. One, the New York Times OnDisc (NYTO), is a text-only database containing Times articles presented in essentially the same way they appear in LEXIS/NEXIS. The other, General Periodicals OnDisc (GPO), is an image-based system that reproduces the Times' Sunday Book Review and Magazine exactly as they appeared on the printed pages, complete with photographs, captions, advertisements, and other surrounding materials. The two CD-ROM products are searchable in much the same way as LEXIS/NEXIS; in both, articles retrieved by users provide no links to other articles appearing in the original print publications.

The Authors filed this suit, alleging that their copyrights were infringed when, as permitted and facilitated by the Print Publishers, LEXIS/NEXIS and UMI (Electronic Publishers) placed the Articles in NEXIS, NYTO, and GPO (Databases). The Authors sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and damages. In response to the Authors' complaint, the Print and Electronic Publishers raised the privilege ac-


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