Supreme Court Turns Away TVEyes

In a blow to web monitoring service TVEyes, the Supreme Court has refused to review a lower court ruling that requires the company to stop offering video clips from Fox News programs.

As is customary, the Supreme Court didn't give a reason for its refusal to hear the case. The move, announced Monday, leaves in place a decision against TVEyes issued by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. That court ruled earlier this year that TVEyes' $500-a-month video-monitoring service -- which is used by journalists, the White House, politicians and the U.S. military, among others -- isn't protected by fair use principles.

TVEyes records and indexes news programs from 1,400 stations, and allows subscribers to search for news clips by keywords and access portions of the shows.

Fox News sued TVEyes in 2013, alleging that the service infringed Fox's copyright. U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan issued a mixed decision.In 2014, he ruled that TVEyes makes fair use of Fox's material by indexing its news clips and providing snippets of them to subscribers. But the following year, he ruled that other components of TVEyes' service infringed copyright.



Both companies then appealed to the 2nd Circuit in New York. Fox News argued that its ability to market its clips, as well as to create a market for clips in the future, was being thwarted by TVEyes.

TVEyes countered that its service was protected by fair use principles because it's "transformative" -- offering not simply access to news and entertainment but also the ability to analyze companies' approach to the news.

A panel of that court sided against TVEyes, ruling the service harms Fox's ability to monetize its content.

TVEyes sought to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. The company contended that Fox News shouldn't be able to "unilaterally remove its broadcasts” from TVEyes' research database.

TVEyes' request was supported by groups including the Wikimedia Foundation and digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation, which argued that researchers and media critics need the kind of comprehensive database of TV news programs that TVEyes offered.

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