Rambus Files Its Opposition to Cert.; Gatehouse/New York Times Copyright Case Settles

by Lee Gesmer on January 28, 2009

[Update: the FTC did file a reply brief.  Link here]

All the briefs are in on the FTC petition for cert in its antitrust case against Rambus, (unless the FTC decides to file a reply brief, which is unlikely to change things much). I’ve added the Rambus opposition to the Rambus Group page on scribd.com, here. Now its time for the antitrust community to hold its breath and see whether the Court takes the case. Some knowledgeable commentators have opined that FTC/Rambus case has the best chance of any antitrust case obtaining review this year, but that plus a dime will get you …. well, nothing I guess. If the petition is allowed, it will be very exciting times for antitrust and standards setting law and policy wonks.

In federal court in Boston the Gatehouse Media v. New York Times case (described in these two (1, 2) earlier posts) has settled, as I suspected it would. The settlement agreement (or a preliminary agreement which is binding in the event a “definitive agreement” is not reached), is on scribd.com, here. It appears that this agreement was not intended to be made public (at least not yet), but apparently someone leaked it, so it’s public now.

As I read this, Gatehouse prevailed, hands down over the NYT/Boston.com. Gatehouse will erect “technical solutions” to prevent Boston.com from copying the Gatehouse original content, and Boston.com will respect those “solutions.” If a “solution” proves ineffective, Gatehouse will notify Boston.com, and Boston.com will back off right away. Why the parties went about it in this manner (which implicates DMCA-like anti-circumvention) I’m not sure, but I appears to accomplish the same result as if the NYT/Boston.com simply said “we won’t copy your ledes.”

From what I can seek, Boston.com/yourtown has already dropped its ledes and links to the Gatehouse sites, at least based on a quick sampling.

[postscript: here is a link to the report of Gatehouse’s copyright expert, Douglas Lichtman, Professor of Law, UCLA. The report is an analysis of the case under copyright fair use principles, and a rebuttal of the NYT/Boston.com’s unclean hands argument]

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