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The Courts Your Rights Online

Newspaper Articles Not Copyrightable In Slovakia 86

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the us-to-issue-trade-sanctions dept.
Yenya writes "In Slovakia, newspaper articles can be freely aggregated and archived, and are not worth copyright protection. The district court in Bratislava, Slovakia, stated in the case between news publishing house Ecopress and a news monitoring company Storin, that while the news articles manifests traces of creativity, it is not enough to be considered worth protecting the authors rights (English translation)."
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Newspaper Articles Not Copyrightable In Slovakia

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  • Your slashdot comments don't get copyright protection either.

    • Re:In Slovakia.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @05:07AM (#38648670)

      You sure? These comments are original works of me, my opinion, my creation.

      You have to see the difference between information and creation. That Hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table is not copyrightable. It's information. Even if I create an elaborate statement that culminates in its essence in this and little else, there's no chance that I'll retain copyright of it. Because the main part of what I created is still just the information that hydrogen is the element with the least mass.

      A fantasy story about various atoms coming together and having a party, while playing puns on their weight and some of their properties (and look how fat uranium looks, any more yellow cake and she's gonna blow!) is a different matter. That IS copyrightable.

      • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @05:40AM (#38648814)

        You sure? These comments are original works of me, my opinion, my creation.

        You have to see the difference between information and creation. That Hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table is not copyrightable. It's information. Even if I create an elaborate statement that culminates in its essence in this and little else, there's no chance that I'll retain copyright of it. Because the main part of what I created is still just the information that hydrogen is the element with the least mass.

        A fantasy story about various atoms coming together and having a party, while playing puns on their weight and some of their properties (and look how fat uranium looks, any more yellow cake and she's gonna blow!) is a different matter. That IS copyrightable.

        Does this mean I can't use the quote button?

        • by fatphil (181876)
          I don't know why you were marked funny, it's more worth "insightful". You raise a good point, and it's one that predates web-based communities like /.. There would often be loons on usenet who would like to assert copyright over everything they posted (grand theories about how something impossible was true, usually), who used to get all riled up when people would reply quoting everything. The general consensus was that such posts, whilst copyrighted by the original poster, have been explicitly sent into a m
        • Does this mean I can't use the quote button?

          There is a quote button?

        • You xxxx? These comments are xxxxxx works of xx, xx opinion, xx creation.

          Xxx have to see the difference between xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx. That xxxxxxx is the lightest element in the periodic table is not xxxxxxxxxx. It's information. Even if I xxxxx an elaborate statement that culminates in xxx essence in this and little else, there's no chance that X'xx retain xxxxxxx of it. Because the main part of what I xxxxxx is still just the information that hydrogen is the element with the least mass.

          A fantasy xxxxx about various xxxxxx coming together and having a party, while playing puns on xxxxx weight and some of their properties (and look how fat xxxxxx looks, any more yellow cake and she's gonna blow!) is a different matter. That IS xxxxxxxxx.

          Does xxxx xxxx I can't use the xxxxx button?

          FTFY, DMCA compatible now.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          You sure? These comments are original works of me, my opinion, my creation.

          You have to see the difference between information and creation. That Hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table is not copyrightable. It's information. Even if I create an elaborate statement that culminates in its essence in this and little else, there's no chance that I'll retain copyright of it. Because the main part of what I created is still just the information that hydrogen is the element with the least mass.

          A fantasy story about various atoms coming together and having a party, while playing puns on their weight and some of their properties (and look how fat uranium looks, any more yellow cake and she's gonna blow!) is a different matter. That IS copyrightable.

          Does this mean I can't use the quote button?

          That joke is so derivative.

        • There is a quote button?! Where is it!?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You seem confused. The copyright of facts and the copyright of newspaper articles are two distinct things.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        A fantasy story about various atoms coming together and having a party, while playing puns on their weight and some of their properties (and look how fat uranium looks, any more yellow cake and she's gonna blow!) is a different matter.

        Ten copies, please. WHY WON'T YOU TAKE MY MONEY?!

        • Umm... 'cause I give it away for free? It's not like I think my creations are worth enough to actually charge people for the privilege of reading them.

          Actually, I'm kinda glad they don't try to get compensation for immaterial damage...

      • by evalhalla (581819) *

        Even if I create an elaborate statement that culminates in its essence in this and little else, there's no chance that I'll retain copyright of it. Because the main part of what I created is still just the information that hydrogen is the element with the least mass.

        Not strictly true: if you wrote an elaborate statement to affirm that hydrogen is the element with the least mass you would probably have copyright *on the statement*, just not on the hydrogen fact. This is how you have copyright on e.g. science books, which are basically based on the explanation of facts (and why you can take said facts and put them on wikipedia, but you can't copy the actual phrasing of the book).

    • It's not 'author's rights' to recognition that are neglected rather than the publisher's rights to monopolize monetary or informative value of their writing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trevin (570491)

        That's closer, but monopolizing the news is not a right. It's a privilege which may (or may not) be granted by the government.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Actually they do because Slashdot is hosted in the USA.

      The implied license might be another hurdle though.

  • In the coming Dark Age of lost or purged copyrighted history as libraries physically wink out, Slovakia may preserve more of its history.
    • Not only Slovakia, I dimly remember that in our copyright laws there's an explicit note that news are not copyrightable. For the reason that they're news, not the creation of the newspapers.

      Well, it MAY be different for the Sun or similar quality papers, where it might be an original work...

  • by rastos1 (601318) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:38AM (#38648538) Homepage

    Most likely, they are not worth protection, because they are generally crap. Journalism is a dying art. All you get is poorly translated blurbs from AP/AFP/Reuters. With population of 5 millions is not worth attention of foreign reporters and the only case where I've seen local reporters to get to the bottom of the issue are some consumer-protection cases. Never in science, politics or corruption, etc. But who cares. Most people just want tabloid, so they get that.

    I get better news coverage here, than from newspaper articles.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      Oh, wait...

    • What's wrong with only having 5 million people? I live in a country with 4,434,676 people. We have good news articles all the time, perhaps two, maybe three a month!
      • by fatphil (181876)
        1,339,646 here. We have a fantastic news service, and I'm not jesting.

        Of course, whilst the news may be vitally important and exciting for nationals, it's likely to be of very little interest to foreigners. Whereas when things are happening in the US or Russia, even if we'd prefer it didn't affect us, we still have to wonder how far away the poor victim country will be and whether we'll get any fall-out.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The more likely explanation is that they are not worth protecting, because their quality is so low. Journalism is a dying art. Newspapers consist of poorly translated blurbs from AP/AFP/Reuters. With a population of 5 million, Slovakia does not receive much attention from the foreign press, and the only case where I've seen local reporters get to the bottom of an issue are in a few consumer-protection issues. Never in other important fields like science, politics, etc. But who cares. Most people just want a

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      It isn't really about the quality of the work, otherwise you could argue that all sorts of art is just crap and thus not worthy of copyright. Who would decide? The court in this case is basing their decision on the idea that merely reporting facts is not a significant enough "work" to qualify, in the same way that you can't copyright raw data like statistics or sports scores in most places.

      Opinion pieces might be different because they are creative. Unfortunately 99% of the average newspaper is opinion rath

  • I live in Slovakia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlovakWakko (1025878) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @04:40AM (#38648546)
    The copyright lobby is still trying to locate us on the map. Once they find us, our politicians will last maybe 3 minutes...
    • That's why you have to organise and donate to the politicians first. Keep track of how much was donated and use that info as amo in case the US Media lobsters start to pay them off OR you could gather all the politicians and threaten them with mob and pitchforks.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Here in the EU (which Slovakia is a member of), "donating" to a politician is a serious crime (corruption) with several years of imprisonment as the punishment.

        • by ScentCone (795499)
          Do any politicians run campaigns that cost money? If someone you truly think is the right person for the job is trying to get elected, are you prevented from supporting their campaign, or the political actions of their party/organization?
          • I don't know how about other member coutries, but in Slovakia you can donate to the politician's party. The parties also get some state donations after elections based on the votes they get, so they're supposed to get a loan to cover the campaign, and then repay it from this donation. IRL this money is not enough to run a serious political party, so they make a lot of shady deals with the private sector. The corruption is almost universal.
    • by LordCrank (74800)

      Does copyright law in Slovakia have the notion of fair use applied as it does in the U.S.? Without fair use of copyrighted materials as a middle ground you'd have a much harder time arguing that news articles can be copyrighted.

      • Yes it does. It's not as strict as U.S. law, and it even recognizes 'private use' - for example I may copy a portion or all of certain types of copyrighted works (including movies and music, but not books) for private use, without having to notify or pay the copyright owner. He/she is reimbursed from a small tax levied on all recording media and devices (CD/DVD media and burners, HDDs, ...). The law also recognizes derivative works, which are allowed (a photo of a sculpture, for example) and other useful co
        • "I cannot imagine that many of our judges are educated enough in the modern issues of copyright in the virtual world to recognize the problem"

          That's good for you: with regards of copyright notions, the more "luddites" the more probable the judge will reach a fair outcome.

          There's absolutly *nothing* in the "virtual world" that means a damn with respect of copy rights except to muddy the waters.

          "I have to say that in my opinion the judge is wrong"

          With regards of court rules, the damn short letter makes a big

          • "it was the plaintiff the one that failed to show that among the non-copyrighteable facts there were creative work too"

            You're right, at least the article suggest so. It also says that the court disregarded some EC directives and previous cases based on them. Since precedents are not binding in our law system, it is free to do so, and the plaintiff will have to appeal the decision in a higher court.

  • ...copyright owns you !
  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @05:00AM (#38648640) Homepage Journal

    There is plenty of creativity in journalism. In the US, journos exhibit creativity when they try to create two sides out of a one sided issue, conjures up non existent reasons for an illegal war [fair.org], or print outright works of fiction as fact [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Informative)

      by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:01PM (#38651726)

      When you say "illegal war", you mean "military activity not authorized authorized by congress?"

      Because heres the huge irony of all these bashing statements about "Bushe's War" being illegal getting +5 interesting: All of Bush's military activity was explicitly authorized [wikipedia.org] by Congress, in one case by a landslide [wikipedia.org]. The huge irony here is that Obama voted "yea" for both.

      The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for Obama, despite his vocal opposition to non-authorized military activity-- Libya was not approved by Congress (though it was by the UN; I guess that trumps constitutionality requirements in Obama's book).

      To be clear, I am not against the intervention in Libya-- I can give Obama credit where credit is due; but there is some HUGE hypocrisy from a guy who stated
      "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
      and even more so from those who ignore Libya and continue blithely attacking Bush. At least Obama had the good sense to shut up about Bush's "Kinetic Military Actions" being unconstitutional; yall should take a page out of his book.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, he means 'military action without a formal declaration of war as required by international law'.

        • My links didnt come through due to a bad copy-paste; you are right that Bush had no declaration of war, but that is not a constitutional requirement, and international law allows retaliation in self defense (which, it is argued, Afghanistan was).

          Iraq was because Hussein refused to allow UN weapons inspectors in, along with an informant who claimed WMDs and bio / chem weapons were being stockpiled. You can argue that all day long, but basically everyone was for the Iraq invasion when it happened; It is poss

          • You can argue that all day long, but basically everyone was for the Iraq invasion when it happened; It is possible Bush would have been "in trouble" had he not done Iraq...

            Um, the reason that "basically everyone" was for the Iraq invasion is because of a concerted effort made by the Bush administration to make a case for it. A case that was full of information that can be considered, at best, distortions and, at worst, outright lies. If you don't believe me, try watching the program "Bush's War" put out

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        "Obama did it, so it's ok"?

        That's a compelling argument.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    while the news articles manifests traces of creativity, it is not enough to be considered worth protecting the authors rights

    The same should apply to Hollywood movies, for the same reasons! :D

  • US of A Ambassador : "That's a nice country you have here. It'd be a shame if something happened to its economy..."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Slovakia, like most European countries, doesn't have a common law system. This means that precedents have very little significance, and next time someone claims a copyright on a news article, the court may decide differently.

  • Finally a test case (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mathinker (909784) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @07:59AM (#38649432) Journal

    Will this cause the total collapse of the Slovakian news business? My suspicion is "no".

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens, so finally there might be some (slightly) more objective evidence for those of us who are interested in how the current copyright laws encourage or discourage various economic endeavors.

    • No test case. As an AC pointed out [slashdot.org], Like most countries in the EU (and for that matter, most countries in the world [wikipedia.org]), Slovakia doesn't have common law, precedents, and test cases. In civil law, law is written, not precedented.
      • by Mathinker (909784)

        I think you misunderstand "test case", here. I did not mean a legal test case. I meant an economic test case --- for that, it is sufficient to have just this one decision.

  • articles that are simplistic reporting of daily news are what has been ruled on. completely original investigative reporting is not affected. there is really very little creativity in slovak journalism. a lot of it is only one-sided rehashing of press releases.

    slovakia does not have diversity in the journalism market. that is why piano media was able to get a foothold. hopefully, this will begin to eat away at the paywall and collusion piano media has created.

  • by rollingcalf (605357) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @09:31AM (#38649884)

    ... down to 5 or 10 days after publication, and it wouldn't kill the incentives of journalists to research and write the articles, or of newspapers to publish them. Nearly all of their monetary value is realized in the first 48 hours after publication.

    Cutting the copyright short would also make it easier for newspapers to make their archives of old articles available. In America some newspapers get cockblocked by journalists suing to collect royalties again on years-old articles just because the article is republished in a different medium.

  • I ran a manual aggregator service but I stopped because I got paranoid with all the copyright as I paid for nothing. The site was not set up to earn any money and users got what they needed for free. So this news is welcome IMHO as news is news and should be free, notwithstanding the costs that a paper forks out which is basically recouped by advertising and edition sales. I never felt guilty about that, just the paranoia of copyright.
    The Slovak model is interesting for another reason, that the newsprint me

    • by VAElynx (2001046)
      All right. When I saw the title of the post, i thought this will be bad, but congratulations, you have managed to dig under my already low-set hurdle
      Firstly, newspapers definitely don't side away from real issues... except that their definition of real issues isn't constantly poking the same stale issue, which is how both Slovak National Party and SMK, Most-Hid or whatever the hungarian party is at the moment get their votes.
      Now, let's address things in turn.
      I don't think i have ever seen Moravians se
  • (Obligatory Onion reference)

  • So what happens when journalists steal other journalists stories?? I guess that is okay?
  • here in india,all news paper have their content copyrighted times of india lead here just cause 2 [blogspot.com] !

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