Wainwright Securities, Inc. v. Wall Street Transcript Corp.

558 F.2d 91 (1977)

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Wainwright Securities, Inc. v. Wall Street Transcript Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
558 F.2d 91 (1977)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

H. C. Wainwright Company (Wainwright) (plaintiff), a broker-dealer, specialized in preparing in-depth financial and business reports about publicly traded corporations for use by major banks, investment firms, and industry clients. Each report took several months to prepare and featured Wainwright’s financial analyses, conclusions, and predictions. All of Wainwright’s reports were copyrighted. Wall Street Transcript Corporation (WST) (defendant) published a widely available weekly newspaper focusing on business, financial, and economic news. In each newspaper, WST featured a column containing abstracts of institutional research reports, including Wainwright’s. The abstracts WST published substantially copied the analyses and conclusions from Wainwright’s reports without adding any independent research, analysis, commentary, or critique. WST’s advertising campaign promoted the column as a way for WST’s readers to get easy, fast access to major institutional research reports. Wainwright sued WST for copyright infringement seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages. WST countered, arguing that WST’s abstracts of Wainwright’s reports constituted fair use and that the abstracts were legitimate news reports about objective facts protected by the First Amendment. The district court granted Wainwright’s request for a preliminary injunction, holding that WST’s column was not fair use because it substantially copied Wainwright’s research reports. WST appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mishler, J.)

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