Sun, Nov. 26, 2006

Abstracts of Book Reviews Legal

CK - Washington.   The Frankfurt District Court ruled on November 23, 2006 in the matter 2-03 O 172/06 on the legality of commercially provided abstracts of book reviews under German copyright law. It found in favor of the web publisher of abstracts who based his summaries, including rare verbatim excerpts, on paper-based and web-based material published by a national German newspaper, reportedly Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The court noted that the abstracts did not infringe the paper's copyright. Any quotes were so minimal to not even raise to the level of fair use and permitted citations. That is true even where the reader would understand the gist of the published reviews and where key expressions and ideas were conveyed. In addition, the court found the abstracts to increase the likelihood of readers purchasing the paper and web publications. The paper had argued the abstracts would result in fewer purchases of its offerings, both traditional and web-based.

According to defendant Perlentaucher's report, a second complaint by Süddeutsche Zeitung has also been dismissed. The papers may appeal. They continue to charge some illegality in Perlentaucher's business model while others comment that they fail to grasp the promotional value provided the publishers by abstracters. The fronts resemble those in the music and movie fields.

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