Law: When a Scoop Is Piracy

The Supreme Court balances copyright against press rights

The case had sharply divided the many-gabled house of publishing. On one side stood the nation's major book publishers. On the other were some of its most influential newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Gannett chain. Reporters and editors could be found in both camps. At issue was the media's right to publish immediately what they regard as news against an author's right to protect a soon-to-be-published manuscript.

The book publishers and authors won the final encounter last week when the U.S. Supreme Court held 6 to 3 that the Nation magazine had committed publishing "piracy"...

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