Meltwater have followed up their defeat in a series of British courts with a defeat in an American court. AP sued them for copying AP stories, and they won. In the opinion which accompanied the summary judgement (I’ll look for it online, I have an emailed copy), the judge is scathing about almost every point which Meltwater raised.
Nonetheless, like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. even with all their arms and legs cut off by every court they have visited, Meltwater remain confident of success. They “strongly disagree” with the court. They “look forward to having this decision reviewed by the Court of Appeals”. Despite Judge Denise Cote comprehensively dismissing their claim that they are a search engine, Meltwater “is especially troubled by the implications of this decision for other search engines”. Regardless of a comprehensive and analytical explanation by the judge of her reasons for rejecting Meltwater’s claim that their activities are covered by fair use, they say that her judgement “misapplies the fair use doctrine”.
Does all this bluster sound familiar? Just look back at their response to their successive and equally comprehensive defeats in a series of British courts. Despite it all, they still don’t seem to grasp that building a business on other people’s property, without their agreement and without paying them, just isn’t reasonable or legal.
Still they can take comfort from the doughty Black Knight. “Tis but a scratch”, he says as he loses his arms. “It’s just a flesh wound” when one of his legs goes.
“We are confident [the next court] will see the case a different way” says Jorn Lyseggen of Meltwater, as brave and confident as any knight.