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AP and AHN Media settle APís lawsuit against AHN Media and individual defendants


NEW YORK -- The Associated Press and AHN Media have settled the APís intellectual property lawsuit against AHN Media and individual defendants.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in January 2008. It sought unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against misappropriation of APís proprietary news reports and against infringement of APís copyrights and trademarks.

ďAP is pleased to have successfully resolved the litigation through a principled settlement,Ē said Laura Malone, AP associate general counsel for intellectual property governance.

ďAP invests hundreds of millions of dollars to gather and to distribute essential breaking news worldwide that customers legitimately access and use by payment of a license fee,Ē said Malone. She added that ďunauthorized use of these proprietary news reports by copying or rewriting published AP news stories is inimical to the interests of AP and its legitimate licensees.Ē

In its lawsuit, AP alleged that AHN instructed its staff and contractors, both in the United States and in offshore locations, to source news content of general interest from AP stories upon their publication on established news Web sites. The suit also alleged that AHN instructed its staff to rewrite the AP stories and to submit the rewritten text to AHNís computers without APís name and copyright management information. AP further alleged that AHN then added its own byline to the rewritten version of the AP stories and that AHN then reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed and published the rewritten version of the AP stories in competition with APís news services. AHN denied the substantive allegations in the APís complaint.

As a result of the lawsuit, and as part of the settlement, the defendants agreed that they would not make competitive use of content or expression from AP stories. Defendants acknowledge there were many instances in which AHN improperly used APís content without APís consent. Defendants further acknowledge the tort of ďhot news misappropriationĒ has been upheld by other courts and was ruled applicable in this case by U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel.

The settlement includes payment by AHN to AP of an unspecified sum to settle the APís claim for past unauthorized use of AP expression and news content. ďThis settlement safeguards APís investments in journalism, and serves as notice to others that AP will fully defend its intellectual property rights against unfair competition,Ē added Malone.


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