Tomorrow’s newspaper in Texas is a very different beast! With the increasing availability of instant news and information 24/7, the ‘news’ part of newspapers is rapidly morphing. If I want to know who did what when or what today’s big issue is, whether that be globally, nationally or locally, I have a seemingly unlimited choice of instant news services from which to choose. Even my old mobile phone grants me immediate internet access, meaning keeping up with the Jones’s has never been easier.
So why do we still have newspapers in Texas ? Everyone knows that circulation is plummeting, but a few of us die-hards believe there will always be print. Why? Because it is comfortable. The Y-Gens are still buying their magazines and books because they also enjoy that relaxing slump on the couch with a drink, snacks and an engaging read. The operative word here of course is engaging!
This article addresses the law relating to copyright in news headlines and explores the case law relating to whether media publishers can protect their headlines as original literary works.
Media companies have tried to claim copyright protection over newspaper headlines reproduced on the internet. News publishers have claimed that news headlines qualify for copyright protection as original literary works under copyright legislation. As early as 1918 in the case of International News Service v Associated Press 248 U.S. 215 the US Supreme Court has held that there can be no copyright in facts or 'news of the day'.
However unlike in Commonwealth countries like Australia where there is no recognition of a tort of misappropriation the United States recognises a doctrine of misappropriation of hot news. This tort has enabled media publishers and other organisations to gain the right to protect other entities from publishing certain 'facts' or data, including news and other time-sensitive information during a certain window period to enable the organisation which has invested in gathering the data can recoup their investment. There are a number of criteria which must be satisfied to prevail in an action of hot news misappropriation
As stated above, Commonwealth Courts have rejected a tort of unfair competition as framed in the United States and have decided such cases solely on the basis of copyright law. Courts have been reluctant to afford literary copyright to titles, characters and news headlines. However newspaper publishers have only recently brought legal action in Australia for copyright infringement in their headlines and portions of their articles on the basis that the reproduction or abstracting of headlines is equivalent to theft of their content. Newspaper publishers have tried to obtain copyright protection in their headlines as discrete original literary works under copyright legislation.
For copyright protection to exist a literary work must exist and not every piece of writing or printing will constitute a literary work within the meaning of the law.
Typically, single words, short phrases, advertising slogans, characters and news headlines have been refused copyright protection even where they have been invented or newly coined by an author. The courts have given different reasons for denying copyright protection to such works. One reason offered by the Courts is that the 'works' are too trivial or not substantial enough to qualify for copyright protection. The case of Exxon Corporation v Exxon Insurance Consultants Ltd (1981) 3 All ER 241 is a leading English precedent where copyright was refused for the word Exxon as an original literary work.
Exxon argued it enjoyed copyright in the word Exxon having invested time and energy in employing linguists to invent the word, contending that the actual size of the literary work doesn't preclude a work from acquiring copyright protection. The court found that the work was too short or slight to amount to a copyright work.
The Court also stated that although the word was invented and original it had no particular meaning, comparing it with the word 'Jabberwocky' used for Lewis Carroll's famous poem. US case law has only recognised limited intellectual property rights in invented names or fictional characters in exceptional cases. There is no modern English or Australian case which has recognised that titles, phrases, song and book titles should be granted copyright protection.
Publishers asserting copyright in headlines contend that compiling and arresting headlines involves a high degree of novelty and creativity, and that headlines should qualify as original literary works. To be a literary work, a work has to convey pleasure or afford enjoyment or instruction. A literary work must also be original, and to satisfy the test of originality it must be original not just in the sense of originating from an identifiable author rather than copied, but also original in the particular form of expression in which an author conveys ideas or information. This is because copyright is not meant to protect facts or ideas.
The question whether copyright can subsist in newspaper headlines was discussed briefly by a Judge in a Scottish case called Shetland Times Ltd v Wills  FSH 604. The Judge didn't arrive at a final conclusion as to whether a newspaper headline can be a literary work, but expressed reservations about granting copyright to headlines, especially where they only provide a brief indication of the subject matter of the items they refer to in an article.
Newspaper headlines are similar in nature to titles of a book or other works and titles, slogans and short phrases which have been refused copyright protection. In the case of IceTV Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd  HCA 14, the High Court held that no copyright can subsist in a programme title alone. The Courts have based their reasons for refusing copyright protection to such works both of the basis that they are too short (see Francis Day & Hunter Ltd v Twentieth Century Fox Corp Ltd (194) AC 112) or alternatively that titles of newspapers, songs, magazines, books, single words and advertising slogans lack sufficient originality to attract copyright protection.
The title 'Opportunity Knocks' for a game show was refused protection, as was the title "The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" for a song and "Splendid Misery" for a novel. Courts have also refused copyright protection for invented names such as Kojak and newspaper titles such as 'The Mirror'. Such titles and names may however be protected by other forms of intellectual property such as trademark law or the tort of passing off.
Whilst Courts have recognised that newspaper headlines may involve creative flair and be clever and engaging but represent little more than the fact or idea conveyed.
Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd the Federal Court of Australia has ruled that newspaper headlines are not capable of copyright protection. Reed and collected and reproduced the news headlines and articles appearing in the Australian Financial Review on it's Abix subscription service. Fairfax alleged that by producing abstracts of the articles in their service Reed had infringed the copyright in a number of works, being the headlines as a separate literary work and in the headline and article together, as a 'combination work', all of the articles, headlines and bylines as a 'compilation' and also published edition copyright in each of the Australian Financial Review. The Court held that the headline was too trivial to be copyrightable and did not amount to a substantial part of the combination work so as to amount to infringement and the combination work didn't amount to a work of joint authorship.
The law in the United States is somewhat unsettled in relation to the rights of news aggreggators to engage in such activity due to the existence of the tort of unfair competition which is recognised in some US States.
The Court held that even had the use amounted to infringement it would have been excused by the defence of fair dealing.
10 Newsletter Ideas to Write Articles for Your Newsletter
Since you publish your newsletter on a regular basis, sometimes it's difficult to find newsletter ideas for your next issue's content. You sit in front of your monitor and stare at the white screen where the typing cursor is blinking... but your mind doesn't seem to come up with any ideas.
Here are 10 tips to help you find good article ideas...
#1. Make an Ideas List
If you've been writing articles for a while, you know your brightest ideas don't usually come to your mind when you need them. Actually, you usually get the best ideas when you're doing something else and thinking about another thing.
But everything changes when you decide to sit and write an article... you get the writer's block. You really need a good idea for your next issue... but your mind doesn't help a bit.
The solution is creating an idea list. Whenever you get a bright idea, just add it to your list. After a short time, you'll have a list full of creative ideas for your next 20 issues at least. So whenever you want to write an article, you simply take a look at your list and choose an idea you feel like writing about.
I've been using this technique for almost a year and it has really helped me write better articles faster and easier!
#2. Do a Little Keyword Research
Find out which keywords your target market are searching in search engines. Then write an article about it. So not only you will provide your subscribers with the exact information they're looking for, but you may also get a top ranking for that article in search engines - which will bring you lots of targeted traffic for free.
Wordtracker is an essential keyword research tool that I always use to get many keyword ideas and find out how many times people have searched for them. You can also use Overture free keyword suggestion tool.
#3. Ask Your Readers
To turn your subscribers into loyal readers and win their trust, you should provide them with the exact information they're looking for.
The easiest way to find out "what" exactly they want to know is simply adding a "Ask the Editor" section to your newsletter. Soon you will receive lot of emails from your readers asking you for advice about various topics.
You can choose the most common questions and problems and write an article about it. So you'll get lots of great article ideas for your future issues. What's more, your readers will love your newsletter for providing them with the exact information they need!
#4. Study Forums where Your Target Market Hangs out
More and more people participate in forums these days. One of the reasons is because you can get professional advice for free. And this is exactly what makes forums a great place for you to get bright ideas for your newsletter content.
You simply need to go to the forums where your target market hangs out. There you will discover many of the most common questions and problems your target market has. So you can write helpful articles about them.
#5. Browse Article Directories
There are many article directories available online. You just need to browse related categories to your newsletter topic and take a look at article titles. They will inspire you and give you awesome content ideas for your newsletter.
Here are some of the largest article directories...
#6. Review Other People's Products
You might know many great books, software programs, and services that will benefit your newsletter readers. So why not write an honest review about one of them to help your subscribers make the right decision?
What's more, you can join their affiliate program and earn a commission from every sale you make via your affiliate link. This can make you a lot of money because if you provide your readers with a honest review about a useful product, many of them will buy the product and you'll get a commission.
Just remember your role as an affiliate is NOT to sell. It's the most common mistake affiliates make. Selling is the duty of the merchant. Your role is PREselling. It means warming up your visitors and putting them in an open-to-buy mindset.
I had almost no affiliate income before I discovered this secret. Then a friend recommended me Make Your Content PREsell - An awesome ebook about the #1 secret to affiliate marketing success.
I owe a big part of my success to this ebook. I highly recommend it! You can learn more about it at: http://mycps.sitesell.com/best-offer.html
#7. Interview an Expert in Your Field
People like to hear success stories and learn how successful people have reached to where they are now. You can interview successful people in your field by email or phone.
Well-known experts are usually very busy, so they won't accept long interviews. In general, the more famous an expert is, the shortest your interview must be or they won't accept it.
The experts you choose to interview should not necessarily be very famous - like multi-millionaires. They hardly accept to let you interview them. You can interview an ordinary person who has been fairly successful in your field.
#8. Write How-To Articles
You can write how-to articles about almost anything. People love how-to articles. Here are some sample titles...
* How to Go to Sleep in 3 Minutes
* How to Cure Your Headache in 5 Minutes without any Medicine
* How to Look 10 Years Younger
#9. Give a Certain Number of Tips, Ideas, etc.
People love articles that promise to give a certain number of tips - like this article :). These articles are also easy to write. For example you can easily find 3 tips about any topic and turn it to an article. Here are some title examples...
* 5 Tips on How to Deal with an Overbearing Boss
* Top 10 Questions to Ask in an Interview
* 9 Creative Home Business Ideas to Start with Less than $100
#10. Use Guest Articles
Don't feel like writing an article or just don't have the time? No problem. You can publish someone else's article in your newsletter for free. I've introduced some large article directories here in this article in Idea #5.
Since it's much easier to copy and paste a written article than spending time on writing your own, you may be tempted to use guest articles as your main article in many of your issues. But do yourself a favor and don't do it too often. Let me explain why...
What's the goal of your newsletter? Isn't it to win your prospects' trust and prove your expertise to sell them your own products or affiliate products? So if you don't write the majority of your newsletter articles yourself, how can you prove your expertise?
# Final Thoughts
I hope this article helps you get creative article ideas for your newsletter. But if you haven't found a good idea yet, don't push yourself too hard. Don't point a gun to your mind and order it to give you a great idea or you will shoot. 🙂
After all, it's YOUR mind. It's what has always helped you in your business... and your life. So be kinder to it. Relax and take sometime off. Go outside and let your mind rest for a while. Don't even think about your newsletter.
Then get back to this article and try to find a good idea. If you get an idea for your next issue, well done! I'm happy for you!
But if you still can't seem to come up with anything, no problem. Just send a message to your readers and let them know you won't publish your newsletter this week/month.
And remember... your happiness, your health, and enjoying your life is what matters the most. You don't have to write your newsletter until next week, next month... or even next year. Your newsletter is just a small part of your business... and your business is only a small part of your life.
Wish you happiness, health and wealth! 🙂
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