Copyright Lawsuit Against Westlaw and LexisNexis

Westlaw and LexisNexis have been publishing publicly filed legal briefs and motions, and charging their subscription users to access them online, for years.  Two attorneys, Oklahoma lawyer Edward White and New York city lawyer Kenneth Elan, plan to put a stop to it.   White and Elan recently filed a class action lawsuit against Westlaw and LexisNexis, claiming copyright infringement of the aforementioned legal documents.   They seek to represent both lawyers who have copyrighted their work and those who have not, and claim that the two publishing companies have engaged in “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works created by, and owned by, the attorneys and law firms who authored them.”

Read the full complaint here.

What do you think of this lawsuit?  Does it have a solid legal footing?  Or, as some have stated, do you think that the strength of the copyright claim is undermined by the fact that many legal opinions are based on other people’s arguments and analysis?

One Response to “Copyright Lawsuit Against Westlaw and LexisNexis”

  1. Tara said:

    Feb 27, 12 at 1:11 pm

    The Law Librarian Blog has compiled a number of commentator’s views on this lawsuit against Westlaw and Lexis – there are some interesting points raised about the potential liability for PACER, and whether the commercial posting of the briefs is fair use. Follow this link to read more: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2012/02/copyrighted-legal-briefs-continued.html


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