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Thursday, 10 March 2005

NEWSPAPER JOBS COLUMNS; ARE THEY BECOMING REDUNDANT?


This comes to the IPKat from Haaretz, via his friend Mena Kaplan of Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, Argentina.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Yehuda Zaft has ruled that Herzl Ozer, general manager of Off-Tov and founder of the AllJobs internet site, is allowed to continue to copy job opportunity notices from the classified ads of Maariv newspaper - and apparently from other newspapers, too. The judge rejected Maariv's petition for an injunction against Ozer and his website and advised Maariv to consent to the dismissal of the newspaper's NIS 1 million (173,317 euro) damages suit. This ruling effectively paves the way for any commercial body to use the situations vacant listings of another, without such use constituting information theft or copyright infringement.

Maariv: the name means "evening" in English. Will the sun be setting on its paper-based jobs columns?
In this particular case, there was no information theft: information on avaliable jobs didn't belong to Maariv, but rather to the advertisers, who just use the daily newspaper as a platform and advertisers have an interest in their notices being published in other places apart from Maariv and the job-seeking public is also interested in "an accessible site that enables them to easily survey job offers". Maariv argued that people would stop buying its spaper and would surf Ozer's site instead, to which the judge responded:

"The internet poses new challenges to businesses that relay information to the general public via old platforms. The public has an interest in promoting initiative ... The paper must find a way to exist alongside it."

Maariv has claimed that in the past decade it had invested NIS 174 million (over 30 million euro) in publishing job opportunity supplements and marketing campaigns and another $1 million in launching its own internet site. This did not move the judge, who observed: "The petitioner is to be viewed as nothing more than an enterprise that offers an advertising platform in exchange for payment. The resources invested by the petition were aimed mainly at promoting the reputation of the platform and not at collecting the data included in the notices that were published". The IPKat thinks this must be correct so far as copyright law is concerned: that right protects the form in which information is presented, not the information itself. However, on the right facts Ozer's website, if operated within the European Union, may possibly infringe the sui generis database right. Merpel says, "I prefer the internet to newspapers every time -- it's easier to search and I don't get newsprint on my paws".

Some unusual situations vacant here , here and here

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