New York Times Co., Inc. v. Tasini

Citation: 533 U.S. 483
Docket Number: 00-201
Judge: Ginsburg
Opinion Date: June 25, 2001

The Respondents in this case were freelance authors who wrote articles for a variety of publishers. The publishers engaged the authors as independent contractors under contracts that did not secure an author’s consent to placement of articles in an electronic database. However, the publishers each licensed rights to copy and sell articles to the owner and operator of NEXIS. The authors brought suit against the publishers. In response to the authors’ complaint, the publishers raised the privilege accorded collective work to copyright owners by §201(c) of the Copyright Act. The District Court granted the publishers summary judgment, The Second Circuit reversed on the ground that the databases were not among the collective works covered by §201(c), and specifically, were not “revisions” of the periodicals in which the articles first appeared. The Supreme Court held that Section 201(c) did not authorize the copying at issue here.

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