Several of the biggest names in the daily news business joined the AP in its fight against online news clipping service Meltwater News this week. The publishers coming to support AP by filing an amicus brief in its ongoing lawsuit include the New York Times Company, Advance Publications, Gannett, The McClatchy Company and the Newspaper Association of America (which represents 2,000 organizations).

Last year, the Associated Press filed a lawsuit against Meltwater claiming the service — a paid electronic clipping service that monitors and delivers news stories on keyword-specific topics to its paying customers — violated AP copyright and competed directly against AP by illegally selling its content. Since then, the back and forth battle over fair use and what’s fair on the Internet has intensified, with supporters on both sides.

This week, the newspapers weighed in and filed an amicus brief supporting the AP (download the full PDF of the brief, which is worth reading). Here’s their take on the issue and what’s at stake:

It takes no friend-of-the-court brief for the Court to know that the rise of the Internet has been highly disruptive to the nation’s news organizations, as their readers and advertisers have migrated to the Web. In response, the nation’s news organizations, including the amici on this brief, have at considerable expense developed their own Websites and digital businesses to carry their news reports. These digital businesses are supported by electronic advertising revenue, electronic subscription revenue, and licensing income from other publishers and users and aggregators. None of these revenue streams can be sustained if news organizations are unable to protect their news reports from the wholesale copying and redistribution by free-riders like Meltwater.
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