Copying News Articles and Sending Them To Your Customers Could Be Harmful to Your Company’s Health
By: Sean Scheinfeld
Dow Jones & Company, the business news and information titan, is going after a veteran investment advisor for flagrantly stealing thousands of articles from the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, and republishing them in email newsletters for his clientele. In a recent federal lawsuit, Dow Jones accuses Thomas Britton “Britt” Harris IV of wilful copyright infringement, breach of contract, and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”).
For a decade (2010 to 2020), Harris reproduced in full a staggering 6,186 articles in his daily financial newsletter, “Reading With Britt.” Dow Jones timely registered with the U.S. Copyright Office the copyright in 5,371 of these articles.
Each issue of Reading With Britt featured multiple pirated articles either copied and pasted verbatim or manipulated to contain copied text, graphics, photographs, and captions. With both approaches, Britt created the illusion that he was the author of these articles. In a July 2020 email to Dow Jones, Harris admitted to having engaged in this conduct “for a very long time.”
In addition to standard copyright infringement, Dow Jones is suing Harris for violating the DMCA by intentionally removing or altering identifying copyright management information, such as copyright notices, license warnings, and bylines.
Given the admitted willfulness of this copyright infringement, based on statutory damages under the Copyright Act alone, the Defendant could be facing an award of $150,000 multiplied by 5,371 (the number of registered works), for a whopping total of $805,650,000!
Here is just one blatant example of the alleged copyright infringement:
SLG will continue to monitor this case as it goes through the courts.
SLG has extensive experience advising clients on how to avoid costly pitfalls of infringing on copyright, trademark, rights of publicity, and other intellectual property rights. For more information on how SLG can assist your business, please contact SLG at email@example.com.
 See 17 U.S.C. §§ 1201, et seq.
 17 U.S.C. § 504(c); see also 17 U.S.C. § 505 (allowing award of reasonable attorney’s fees).
 Compl. at 12, Dow Jones & Co., Inc. v. Harris, case no. 1:22-cv-00564 (W.D. Tex. June 10, 2022).