The copyright dispute between Fox News Network and online database TVEyes is set to continue after a US court ruled that only some of the database’s services are protected under the fair use doctrine.
The dispute centres on whether TVEyes’s services, which provide journalists, civil servants and politicians with news clips from Fox, infringe its copyright.
Fox sued TVEyes in 2013 at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that the database's services infringed its copyright.
TVEyes provides clips from all US television news networks to its 22,000 subscribers.
Its services are not available to the public, but to select groups such as journalists and US government departments.
But Fox claimed that TVEyes provided unauthorised access to 19 of its one-hour long programmes that it first broadcast between October 2012 and July 2013.
The programmes included “The O’Reilly Factor”, “Hannity” and “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”.
In September 2014, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that some of TVEyes’s services are protected under fair use, but reserved making a judgment on four of its functions pending further information from both parties.
The four functions enable TVEyes’s users to archive content into a personal library, e-mail clips to contacts, download the material, and find content through date-time searches.
On Tuesday, August 25, Hellerstein ruled that because the ability to archive content is “integral” to using TVEyes’s services, it was protected by fair use.
However, on the e-mail service, Hellerstein ruled that if TVEyes “cannot prevent indiscriminate sharing, it risks becoming a substitute for Fox’s own website, thereby depriving Fox of advertising revenue”.
On the question of downloading and the date-time search function, Hellerstein said they were not “integral” to TVEyes’s other purposes and therefore not protected by fair use.
A spokesperson for TVEyes told TBO: "We are pleased that Judge Hellerstein has yet again validated TVEyes’s business model under copyright fair use, and recognised the great value of TVEyes’s service to the public. We look forward to addressing any remaining issues at the appropriate time."
Fox; TVEyes; copyright; US District Court for the Southern District; fair use; The O’Reilly Factor