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According to Courthouse News, a Danish press-clipping company could be violating copyright by printing out 11-word snippets of news articles, the European Court of Justice ruled.

The Luxembourg-based court remanded the issue to Denmark for a determination on whether the snippets comprise intellectual property.

Media monitoring services company Infopaq International challenged the Danske Dagblades Forening, an association of Danish daily newspapers, over a requirement for permission to distribute 11-word extracts of news stories.

Legal framework for the permission requirement includes the 1979 Berne Convention, the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights as administered by the World Trade Organization, and European directives from 1996 and 2001 meant to govern electronic information and protect "European cultural creativity."

Infopaq argued that its process of scanning news articles, converting the data to text and emailing its customers summaries containing the five words before and after a keyword comprise fleeting use that's exempt from the permission requirements. Infopaq also prints out cover sheets with the text snippets.

The Court of Justice said it is up to the national court to determine whether the snippets comprise intellectual property.



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